Foliage motion under wind, from leaf flutter to branch buffeting.
ABSTRACT: The wind-induced motion of the foliage in a tree is an important phenomenon both for biological issues (photosynthesis, pathogens development or herbivory) and for more subtle effects such as on wi-fi transmission or animal communication. Such foliage motion results from a combination of the motion of the branches that support the leaves, and of the motion of the leaves relative to the branches. Individual leaf dynamics relative to the branch, and branch dynamics have usually been studied separately. Here, in an experimental study on a whole tree in a large-scale wind tunnel, we present the first empirical evidence that foliage motion is actually dominated by individual leaf flutter at low wind velocities, and by branch turbulence buffeting responses at higher velocities. The transition between the two regimes is related to a weak dependence of leaf flutter on wind velocity, while branch turbulent buffeting is strongly dependent on it. Quantitative comparisons with existing engineering-based models of leaf and branch motion confirm the prevalence of these two mechanisms. Simultaneous measurements of the wind-induced drag on the tree and of the light interception by the foliage show the role of an additional mechanism, reconfiguration, whereby leaves bend and overlap, limiting individual leaf flutter. We then discuss the consequences of these findings on the role of wind-mediated phenomena.
Project description:In nature, plants regularly interact with herbivores and with wind. Herbivores can wound and alter the structure of plants, whereas wind can exert aerodynamic forces that cause the plants to flutter or sway. While herbivory has many negative consequences for plants, fluttering in wind can be beneficial for plants by facilitating gas exchange and loss of excess heat. Little is known about how herbivores affect plant motion in wind. We tested how the mass of an herbivore resting on a broad leaf of the tulip tree Liriodendron tulipifera, and the damage caused by herbivores, affected the motion of the leaf in wind. For this, we placed mimics of herbivores on the leaves, varying each herbivore's mass or position, and used high-speed video to measure how the herbivore mimics affected leaf movement and reconfiguration at two wind speeds inside a laboratory wind tunnel. In a similar setup, we tested how naturally occurring herbivore damage on the leaves affected leaf movement and reconfiguration. We found that the mass of an herbivore resting on a leaf can change that leaf's orientation relative to the wind and interfere with the ability of the leaf to reconfigure into a smaller, more streamlined shape. A large herbivore load slowed the leaf's fluttering frequency, while naturally occurring damage from herbivores increased the leaf's fluttering frequency. We conclude that herbivores can alter the physical interactions between wind and plants by two methods: (1) acting as a point mass on the plant while it is feeding and (2) removing tissue from the plant. Altering a plant's interaction with wind can have physical and physiological consequences for the plant. Thus, future studies of plants in nature should consider the effect of herbivory on plant-wind interactions, and vice versa.
Project description:To investigate crown development patterns, branch architecture, branch-level light interception, and leaf and branch dynamics were studied in saplings of a plagiotropically branching tree species, Polyalthia jenkinsii Hk. f. & Thoms. (Annonaceae) in a Malaysian rain forest. Lengths of branches and parts of the branches lacking leaves ('bare' branches) were smaller in upper branches than in lower branches within crowns, whereas lengths of 'leafy' parts and the number of leaves per branch were larger in intermediate than in upper and lower branches. Maximum diffuse light absorption (DLA) of individual leaves was not related to sapling height or branch position within crowns, whereas minimum DLA was lower in tall saplings. Accordingly, branch-level light interception was higher in intermediate than in upper and lower branches. The leaf production rate was higher and leaf loss rate was smaller in upper than in intermediate and lower branches. Moreover, the branch production rate of new first-order branches was larger in the upper crowns. Thus, leaf and branch dynamics do not correspond to branch-level light interception in the different canopy zones. As a result of architectural constraints, branches at different vertical positions experience predictable light microenvironments in plagiotropic species. Accordingly, this pattern of carbon allocation among branches might be particularly important for growth and crown development in plagiotropic species.
Project description:In 2008 the U.S. Department of Energy set a target of 20% wind energy by 2030. To date, induction-based turbines form the mainstay of this effort, but turbines are noisy, perceived as unattractive, a potential hazard to bats and birds, and their height hampers deployment in residential settings. Several groups have proposed that artificial plants containing piezoelectric elements may harvest wind energy sufficient to contribute to a carbon-neutral energy economy. Here we measured energy conversion by cottonwood-inspired piezoelectric leaves, and by a "vertical flapping stalk"-the most efficient piezo-leaf previously reported. We emulated cottonwood for its unusually ordered, periodic flutter, properties conducive to piezo excitation. Integrated over 0°-90° (azimuthal) of incident airflow, cottonwood mimics outperformed the vertical flapping stalk, but they produced << daW per conceptualized tree. In contrast, a modest-sized cottonwood tree may dissipate ~ 80 W via leaf motion alone. A major limitation of piezo-transduction is charge generation, which scales with capacitance (area). We thus tested a rudimentary, cattail-inspired leaf with stacked elements wired in parallel. Power increased systematically with capacitance as expected, but extrapolation to acre-sized assemblages predicts << daW. Although our results suggest that present piezoelectric materials will not harvest mid-range power from botanic mimics of convenient size, recent developments in electrostriction and triboelectric systems may offer more fertile ground to further explore this concept.
Project description:This paper investigated the spatial and temporal variations in the amounts of PM accumulated on leaves of Ligustrum lucidum, a common evergreen tree species in North China. The effects of rainfall and wind on the amounts of PM deposited on foliage were also determined. The amounts of PM (g · m(-2)) retained by leaves of L. lucidum differed significantly among the sites (from 0.96 to 5.56) and over time (from 2.51 to 4.48). The largest amounts of PM on foliage of L. lucidum were observed on plants growing at the most polluted site. During the year, the highest and lowest accumulation of PM occurred in November and August, respectively. A considerable proportion of the accumulated PM on leaves was removed by rainfall events (28-48% of PM) and strong winds (27-36% of PM), and more precipitation or higher maximum wind speed could remove more PM from leaves. Rainfall removed mainly large and coarse particles, while fine particles adhered more strongly to the foliage. These results suggested that the effects of local weather conditions (e.g., rainfall, strong wind), different seasons, and pollution levels should be considered in evaluating total PM accumulation on leaves.
Project description:Seed terminal velocity and release height are recognized as key biotic determinants of long-distance dispersal (LDD) of seeds by wind. Yet, potential determinants at the ecosystem level, such as seasonal dynamics in foliage density characterizing many deciduous forests, have received much less attention. We integrated detailed field observations and experiments with a mechanistic wind dispersal model to assess how seasonal variation in foliage density, estimated by leaf-area index (LAI), affects LDD in deciduous forests. We found that the model, previously shown to accurately predict seed dispersal by wind, also reliably describes the effects of LAI variation on wind statistics for a wide range of canopy types. Sparser canopies are characterized by more organized vertical eddy motion that promotes LDD by uplifting seeds to higher elevations where winds are stronger. Yet, sparser canopies are also characterized by reduced mean windspeed aloft. We showed that former effect more than compensates for the latter, i.e., conditions of low LAI are favorable for LDD. This may account for the tendency of many temperate tree species to restrict seed release to either early spring or late fall, when LAI is relatively low. Sensitivity analysis reveals that the typical seasonal variation in LAI can be more important to LDD of seeds by wind than the natural variation in seed terminal velocity. Because our model accurately describes the effects of LAI variation for distinctly different sites, species, and life forms, we suggest that its results reflect a general association between LDD and foliage density dynamics.
Project description:Leaf shape, including leaf size, leaf dissection index (LDI), and venation distribution, strongly impacts leaf physiology and the forces of momentum exerted on leaves or the canopy under windy conditions. Yet, little has been known about how leaf shape affects the morphological response of trees to wind load. We studied eight Quercus species, with different leaf shapes, to determine the morphological response to simulated wind load. Quercus trees with long elliptical leaves, were significantly affected by wind load (P< 0.05), as indicted by smaller specific leaf area (SLA), stem base diameter and stem height under windy conditions when compared to the control. The Quercus trees with leaves characterized by lanceolate or sinuous edges, showed positive morphological responses to wind load, such as bigger leaf thickness, larger stem diameter, allocation to root biomass, and smaller stem height (P< 0.05). These morphological responses to wind can reduce drag and increase the mechanical strength of the tree. Leaf dissection index (LDI), an important index of leaf shape, was correlated with morphological response to wind load (P< 0.05), including differences in SLA, in stem base diameter and in allocation to root biomass. These results suggest that trees with higher LDI, such as those with more and/or deeper lobes, are better adapted to wind load.
Project description:The goal of the study was to quantify and identify patterns in circadian movements of small-leaved lime (Tillia cordata) saplings with the help of terrestrial laser scanning (TLS). The movements were monitored every 60 min 24 h a day and every 30 min in the hour of sunrise and sunset. In order to exclude wind effects the monitored saplings were indoors. The resulting point clouds were used in creating a time series of branch and foliage movements with high precision. The circadian vertical movement of saplings was evaluated through target points, which has a potential of capturing the point-wise movement more accurately. Our results clearly show that small saplings move their branches and leaves during 24 h in complex ways and that is difficult to identify general patterns. Since we worked with small saplings and our movement threshold was 5 mm, we detected random fluctuation-oscillation as the most common movement in monitored saplings. The results highlight the potential of TLS measurements in support of chronobiology and the possibilities to analyze circadian movements of saplings in controlled environment.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Long-lived trees can accumulate mutations throughout their lifetimes that may influence biotic and abiotic interactions. For example, some Eucalyptus trees display marked variation in herbivore defence within a single canopy. These "mosaic" trees support foliage with distinct chemotypes which are differentially favoured by insect and vertebrate herbivores, resulting in susceptible and resistant branches within a single canopy. These mosaic trees provide a unique opportunity to explore the biosynthesis and genetic regulation of chemical defences in the foliage. The biosynthesis of the principal defence compounds, terpenoid-dominated essential oils, is well understood. However, the regulation of the genes involved and thus the control of phenotypic variation within a single tree canopy remains a mystery. RESULTS:We sequenced the transcriptomes of the leaves of the two different chemotypes of a chemically mosaic Eucalyptus melliodora tree using 454 pyrosequencing technology. We used gene set enrichment analysis to identify differentially expressed transcripts and found the proportion of differentially expressed genes in the resistant and susceptible foliage similar to the transcript difference between functionally distinct tissues of the same organism, for example roots and leaves. We also investigated sequence differences in the form of single nucleotide polymorphisms and found 10 nucleotides that were different between the two branches. These are likely true SNPs and several occur in regulatory genes. CONCLUSION:We found three lines of evidence that suggest changes to a 'master switch' can result in large scale phenotypic changes: 1. We found differential expression of terpene biosynthetic genes between the two chemotypes that could contribute to chemical variation within this plant. 2. We identified many genes that are differentially expressed between the two chemotypes, including some unique genes in each branch. These genes are involved in a variety of processes within the plant and many could contribute to the regulation of secondary metabolism, thus contributing to the chemical variation. 3. We identified 10 SNPs, some of which occur in regulatory genes that could influence secondary metabolism and thus contribute to chemical variation. Whilst this research is inherently limited by sample size, the patterns we describe could be indicative of other plant genetic mosaics.
Project description:Trees are self-similar structures: their branch lengths and diameters vary allometrically within the tree architecture, with longer and thicker branches near the ground. These tree allometries are often attributed to optimisation of hydraulic sap transport and safety against elastic buckling. Here, we show that these allometries also emerge from a model that includes competition for light, wind biomechanics and no hydraulics. We have developed MECHATREE, a numerical model of trees growing and evolving on a virtual island. With this model, we identify the fittest growth strategy when trees compete for light and allocate their photosynthates to grow seeds, create new branches or reinforce existing ones in response to wind-induced loads. Strikingly, we find that selected trees species are self-similar and follow allometric scalings similar to those observed on dicots and conifers. This result suggests that resistance to wind and competition for light play an essential role in determining tree allometries.
Project description:Leaf colour variation is observed in several plants. We obtained two types of branches with yellow and variegated leaves from Camellia sinensis. To reveal the mechanisms that underlie the leaf colour variations, combined morphological, histological, ionomic and proteomic analyses were performed using leaves from abnormal branches (variants) and normal branches (CKs). The measurement of the CIE-Lab coordinates showed that the brightness and yellowness of the variants were more intense than the CKs. When chloroplast profiles were analysed, HY1 (branch with yellow leaves) and HY2 (branch with variegated leaves) displayed abnormal chloroplast structures and a reduced number and size compared with the CKs, indicating that the abnormal chloroplast development might be tightly linked to the leaf colour variations. Moreover, the concentration of elemental minerals was different between the variants and the CKs. Furthermore, DEPs (differentially expressed proteins) were identified in the variants and the CKs by a quantitative proteomics analysis using the label-free approach. The DEPs were significantly involved in photosynthesis and included PSI, PSII, cytochrome b6/f complex, photosynthetic electron transport, LHC and F-type ATPase. Our results suggested that a decrease in the abundance of photosynthetic proteins might be associated with the changes of leaf colours in tea plants.