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Abstract Detail


Walls, Ramona L. [1].

Global-scale relationships between angiosperm leaf vein patterns and leaf function.

One of the most prominent aspects of leaf form is venation, yet the functional significance of different vein patterns remains poorly explored. This study combined new data on major and minor vein patterns with published data on leaf functional traits to provide the first global-scale, phylogenetically-based test of relationships between angiosperm vein patterns and leaf function. There were significant relationships between secondary vein type and leaf life span, leaf mass per area, and N content, linking leaf form to the well-known trade-off between leaf life span and physiological activity. Primary vein type was related to maximum photosynthetic rate, leaf mass per area, and N content using standard tests, but not using phylogenetic tests. This relationship appears to be the result of a few changes, followed by phylogenetic conservatism, rather than multiple instances of correlated trait evolution. In contrast to several earlier, non-phylogenetic studies, the relationship between minor vein density and maximum photosynthetic rate was only marginally significant. Nonetheless, this result does not contradict the notion of correlated evolution of hydraulic capacity and photosynthetic capacity, because data for vein density and photosynthetic rate came from different populations, and the relationship may be weak due to intraspecific variation. Relationships between vein patterns and leaf functions will be valuable for estimating functional attributes of living and fossil plant species and communities. While phylogenetic conservatism may weaken statistical relationships between vein patterns and leaf functions, it also allows values of leaf traits to be inferred from phylogeny, providing a complementary source of information.

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1 - New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, NY, 10458, USA

major vein
leaf traits
minor vein density
leaf economic spectrum
phylogenetic conservatism.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Topics
Session: 30
Location: 551B/Convention Center
Date: Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010
Time: 8:30 AM
Number: 30001
Abstract ID:141

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