AuthorPrice, Charles Anthony
Committee ChairEnquist, Brian J.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractRecent theoretical and empirical advances, in particular the fractal branching model of West, Brown and Enquist (WBE model), have highlighted the importance of exchange surfaces in understanding the integration of whole plant form, and functional traits. Key insights have arisen from an increased understanding of how the properties of distributive vessel networks influence whole plant metabolic and physiological traits. Here I show that an extension of WBE model, one in which network geometry is continuously variable, provides a robust foundation to understand the diversity of scaling relationships in plants and the organs of which they are composed. Central to the original WBE model has been the assumption of energy minimization as a selective force shaping the evolution of internal and external plant surface areas and morphology. Here I demonstrate how additional selection on traits not detailed in the original WBE formulation can lead to departures from strict energy minimization, and can thus explain much of the variation and covariation in observed scaling central tendencies in plant gross morphology observed within, and across natural plant communities. I test the predictions from this model extension with data from both regional and global datasets, from the leaf to whole plant level, across herbaceous, succulent, woody, annual and perennial taxa. These data demonstrate that the model extension is quite robust and should serve as a foundation upon which more detailed future models can be constructed.
Degree ProgramEcology & Evolutionary Biology