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Abstract Detail

100 years of Baileyan Trends – Wood Evolution, Function and Future

Zieminska, Kasia [1].

The future of wood anatomy.

Trees and shrubs are the most important land carbon sink and woody species make up almost 50% of all vascular species. Therefore, explaining wood functions is a pressing task for the future. However, this task cannot be fully achieved without an understanding of the underlying anatomical structure. In this talk, I will briefly summarize current state of wood anatomical knowledge and identify its gaps. Next, I will explore future research directions and approaches. Recent data accumulation, more powerful and accessible statistical methods and collaborative efforts of scientist with various types of expertise have contributed to the progress and paved path for future research. For example, new worldwide compilation of data on parenchyma proportions has highlighted the vast diversity in this trait. However, the ecological and functional meaning of this variation is unclear pointing to potentially exciting new frontiers. Another example is a study, which combined large phylogenetic and conduit diameter datasets. That analysis has indicated that possessing small conduits and/or deciduousness were allowed woody clades to move into freezing prone climates. What evolutionary roles, could have been played by other tissues, fibers and parenchyma, remains uncovered? Wood anatomy also plays a crucial role in uncovering the meaning of commonly measured plant functional traits, for example, wood density, which is an emergent trait of wood structure. Wood density correlates with many ecological and physiological traits but in order to better explain the functional meaning of these correlations, we need to understand exactly what wood density is. This task has been underway, especially in recent years. Yet, more effort needs to be put into implementing this knowledge. Similarly, wood anatomy can be indispensable in deciphering tree physiology. It has been recently shown that many species have neither efficient nor safe water transport challenging the safety-efficiency trade-off. Detailed examination of wood anatomical features of such species may be revealing. The future of wood anatomy points to increased collaboration between scientists with different types of expertise who ultimately ask the same fundamental question: how do plants function and why they grow where they grow. Let’s make wood anatomy an indispensable part of this quest.

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1 - Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University, Boston, MA, 02131, USA

Wood anatomy
Plant Anatomy

Presentation Type: Colloquium Presentations
Session: C06, 100 years of Baileyan Trends - Wood Evolution, Function and Future
Location: 106/Mayo Civic Center
Date: Tuesday, July 24th, 2018
Time: 11:30 AM
Number: C06013
Abstract ID:495
Candidate for Awards:None

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