From: University of California - Los Angeles
Published March 9, 2017 10:16 AM

Researchers develop equation that helps to explain plant growth

It is rare in biology that a single trait can answer questions spanning several fields of research. One such trait is plant biology’s “leaf mass per area,” a simple measurement calculated by weighing a dried leaf and dividing by its original fresh area. Leaf mass per area, or LMA, which has been measured in thousands of studies, is used in nearly every field of plant biology to make predictions of many processes and properties such as leaf photosynthetic rates, nitrogen content and plant environmental preferences.

However, despite the simplicity of the measurement of leaf mass area and its value for predicting so many aspects of plant biology, the relationship of leaf mass area to leaf structure —  the cells and tissues that make up a leaf, and their numbers and dimensions —  has not previously been determined.

UCLA researchers have developed a mathematical equation for leaf mass area that will help to determine what drives plant behaviors based on their cells.

The research, which has important implications as plants adapt to a warming environment, is published online by Ecology Letters, a prestigious journal in the field of ecology.

Read more at University of California - Los Angeles

Illustration: Cross section of a California live oak leaf (Credits: Grace John / UCLA)

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