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Abstract Detail


The Functional Significance of Leaf Shape Variation - Towards a Consensus from Gene to Community

Nicotra, Adrienne B. [1], Jones, Cynthia S. [2], Sack, Lawren [3], Royer, Dana [4].

The functional significance of leaf shape variation - towards a consensus from gene to community.

We are all aware of the remarkable diversity of leaf shapes - at scales ranging from developmental sequences within a shoot, to within crown variation in response to microenvironment, from variation among species within and between communities, to variation through evolutionary lineages. Several theories, not mutually exclusive, have been proposed to explain this diversity: thermoregulation of leaves especially in arid and hot environments, patterns of leaf expansion in deciduous species, structural constraints, adaptations to avoid herbivory, and, given that leaves are hypothesized to be developmental homologues to flowers, selection on flower form. Regardless, leaf shape, being a major determinant of light interception by leaves and therefore of productivity, is clearly of broad importance. Explaining diversity of leaf shape requires assessing the functional significance of leaf shape and understanding the mechanisms that generate the diversity. A consensus on the functional significance of leaf shape has application to bio-design initiatives in agriculture, as well as conservation, management and restoration of natural communities. This symposium brings together an exciting international mix of established and early career researchers reflecting current research strengths in genetics, development, physiology, ecology (neo- and paleo-), and evolution. Together, we will review the state of research in our respective areas, and assess the ecological significance of leaf shape.


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1 - Australian National University, School of Botany and Zoology, Bld 116 Daley Rd, Canberra, ACT, 0200, Australia
2 - University of Connecticut, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, 75 North Eagleville Road, U-3043, Storrs, Connecticut, 062693043, USA
3 - University of Hawai'i, Department of Botany, St. John 151 (Courtyard), 3190 Maile Way, Honolulu, HI, 96822-2279, USA
4 - Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Wesleyan University, Exley Science Center 445, 265 Church St., Middletown, CT, 06459-0139, USA

Keywords:
leaf shape
plant development
paleoecology
leaf traits.

Presentation Type: Symposium or Colloquium Presentation
Session: SY01
Location: Williford B/Hilton
Date: Monday, July 9th, 2007
Time: 8:00 AM
Number: SY01001
Abstract ID:83


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