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Abstract Detail

The evolution and ecology of aquatic bryophytes


Functional trait relationships in mosses:  new tools create opportunities to better understand canopy-level water and carbon dynamics.

Moss shoots can persist in dense colonies, lack short-term control over water loss, exhibit desiccation tolerance, and function in water and nutrient uptake, storage and transport.  Given how these characteristics differ from vascular plant shoots, mosses present a unique functional type and require distinct approaches to characterize and understand the causes of variation in their performance.  This talk will review functional trait relationships in mosses and provide examples where novel approaches to characterizing form and function inform our understanding of the unique moss functional type.  In non-aquatic mosses, colony structure may limit shoot light penetration, but enhance water storage and transport and nutrient uptake.  Such tradeoffs lead to different relationships between nutrient allocation patterns and photosynthetic carbon uptake than exists in vascular plants.  Although similar studies have not been undertaken for aquatic mosses, it is expected that comparative studies would find different patterns as aquatic moss shoots are not involved in the competing demands of water transport and storage and should function more like vascular aquatic plants.  Novel approaches to characterize moss form and function that leverage newly available or more accessible technology present exciting opportunities for investigators interested in moss form and function.  First, imaging-based methods can combine 3D laser scanning with other imaging systems to localize function within moss canopies.   I will demonstrate how the distribution of temperatures can be measured throughout the shoot system using such an approach.  Second, inexpensive, open-source microcontrollers are now available that allow development of instrumentation more easily for use with bryophyte research.  Using such an approach, we have developed a portable mechanical testing system to measure the mechanical properties of moss colonies in the field.  Third, 3D printing allows the fabrication of physical shoot-system models that form artificial canopy constructs, which can be seeded with living moss tissue and used to test hypotheses relating shoot architecture to water and carbon dynamics in mosses.  The ease that such instrumentation can be developed and deployed creates opportunities to better understand the functioning of moss shoot systems.

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3D printing
laser scanning
functional trait
plant canopy

Presentation Type: Symposium or Colloquium Presentation
Session: SY02
Location: Payette/Boise Centre
Date: Monday, July 28th, 2014
Time: 1:45 PM
Number: SY02002
Abstract ID:927
Candidate for Awards:None

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