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Leaf area-length allometry and its implications in leaf shape evolution


Shi, P and Liu, M and Ratkowsky, DA and Gielis, J and Su, J and Yu, X and Wang, P and Zhang, L and Lin, Z and Schrader, J, Leaf area-length allometry and its implications in leaf shape evolution, Trees, 33 pp. 1073-1085. ISSN 1432-2285 (2019) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright 2019 Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature

DOI: doi:10.1007/s00468-019-01843-4


According to Thompsonís principle of similarity, the area of an object should be proportional to its length squared. However, leaf area-length data of some plants have been demonstrated not to follow the principle of similarity. We explore the reasons why the leaf area-length allometry deviates from the principle of similarity and examine whether there is a general model describing the relationship among leaf area, width and length. We sampled more than 11,800 leaves from six classes of woody and herbaceous plants and tested the leaf area-length allometry. We compared six mathematical models based on root-mean-square error as the measure of goodness-of-fit. The best supported model described a proportional relationship between leaf area and the product of leaf width and length (i.e., the Montgomery model). We found that the extent to which the leaf area-length allometry deviates from the principle of similarity depends upon the extent of variation of the ratio of leaf width to length. Estimates of the parameter of the Montgomery model ranged between 1/2, which corresponds to a triangular leaf with leaf length as its height and leaf width as its base, and π/4, which corresponds to an elliptical leaf with leaf length as its major axis and leaf width as its minor axis, for the six classes of plants. The narrow range in practice of the Montgomery parameter implies an evolutionary stability for the leaf area of large-leaved plants despite the fact that leaf shapes of these plants are rather different.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:allometry, Montgomery model, leaf area, leaf dimension, Thompsonís principle of similarity
Research Division:Mathematical Sciences
Research Group:Applied mathematics
Research Field:Biological mathematics
Objective Division:Plant Production and Plant Primary Products
Objective Group:Horticultural crops
Objective Field:Horticultural crops not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Ratkowsky, DA (Dr David Ratkowsky)
ID Code:131791
Year Published:2019
Web of Science® Times Cited:4
Deposited By:TIA - Research Institute
Deposited On:2019-04-05
Last Modified:2020-04-01

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