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Relative humidity has dramatic impacts on leaf morphology but little effect on stomatal index or density in Nothofagus cunninghamii (Nothofagaceae)

Citation

Hovenden, MJ and Vander Schoor, JK and Osanai, Y, Relative humidity has dramatic impacts on leaf morphology but little effect on stomatal index or density in Nothofagus cunninghamii (Nothofagaceae), Australian Journal of Botany, 60, (8) pp. 700-706. ISSN 0067-1924 (2012) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright CSIRO 2012

DOI: doi:10.1071/BT12110

Abstract

Reconstructing past environmental conditions using proxies based on fossil and subfossil leaves is difficult because leaf form is influenced by many interacting environmental factors such as temperature, CO2 concentration, light, soil water availability and, potentially, atmospheric relative humidity (RH). We used a species important for palaeoenvironmental reconstruction, the southern beech, Nothofagus cunninghamii, to test for the effects of a 50% difference in RH on leaf morphology and epidermal anatomy in a glasshouse experiment. Leaf size, shape and thickness were all strongly affected by RH with leaves from high humidity being larger, narrower and thicker than those from low humidity regardless of plant accession. RH impacts on epidermal characters were generally slight and dependent upon accession. In particular, epidermal cell size was remarkably consistent across accessions and RH levels. Thus, gross leaf morphology of N. cunninghamii was sensitive to changes in RH but, on average, epidermal characters were not. Thus, palaeoenvironmental signals from the epidermis of this species are unlikely to be affected by variation in RH, provided sufficient numbers of leaves are investigated. Gross leaf morphology, however, was strongly related to RH and should not be used for palaeo-climatic reconstruction if changes in RH are likely.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:humidity, fossil, cuticle, epidermis, stomatal density, leaf morphology
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Palaeoecology
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding Knowledge in the Environmental Sciences
Author:Hovenden, MJ (Associate Professor Mark Hovenden)
Author:Vander Schoor, JK (Mrs Jacqueline Vander Schoor)
Author:Osanai, Y (Ms Yui Osanai)
ID Code:81535
Year Published:2012
Funding Support:Australian Research Council (F19700262)
Web of Science® Times Cited:8
Deposited By:Plant Science
Deposited On:2012-12-12
Last Modified:2013-05-14
Downloads:0

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