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Tropical Morphology How Plants Adapt Rain Forest The University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Leaf Structures Light Management.

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Presentation on theme: "Tropical Morphology How Plants Adapt Rain Forest The University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Leaf Structures Light Management."— Presentation transcript:

1 Tropical Morphology How Plants Adapt Rain Forest The University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Leaf Structures Light Management Strategies

2 About The Author Dr. Paul A. Thomas – Professor of Floriculture – Department of Horticulture – The University of Georgia – Extension Specialist – Really into Photography!

3 Learning Objectives 1. Be able to decribe the ways plants manage light within their own canopy zone to enhance their own survival in low light conditions within the rainforest 2. Describe what a typical rain forest tree canopy looks like in cross section, and explain why this is so.

4 Rain Forest Canopy

5 Maintains Leaves Only Where There Is Light

6 Rapid New Growth When Sunlight Is Present

7 Epiphytic Growth On Branches

8 Epiphytic Growth on Stems/Trunk

9 Light Capture Strategy Radial Distribution of Leaves

10 Leaflets that can raise up or go flat depending on light levels.

11 Overlapping radial leaves

12 Staggered Leaflets allow leaflets to turn toward the light

13 Stagger Leaves – Larger the spaces, the more likely the plant grows near the forest floor.

14 Allowing light to pass through otherwise large leaves is how Philodendron shares light with leaves lower down on its stem. Perforated Leaves

15 More Off-Set Leaves

16 A great place to study tropical leaf morphology!

17 Summary We have seen that there are many different ways plant leaves can adapt to the relative lack of light under the forest canopy, or to the hot, intense tropical sunlight at the canopy. Leaf staggering, or light-sharing is a common approach to forest floor plants and vines that must collect every scrap of light that makes it down to the forest floor.

18 Assessment Opportunity Explain how leaf orientation can help increase or decrease light being received by the plant. How does having leaflets with the ability to bend towards light help forest floor plants? Which do you think is a more successful strategy? Being an epiphyte or eventually growing up to being a tall canopy tree? What are the advantages and disadvantages of both strategies?

19 For Future Exploration tml tml


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