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Title:Language of Leaves
Author(s):Haus, Miranda
Subject(s):Plant Biology
Abstract:The leaf surface is covered with microscopic pores that allow plants to breathe and communicate with the outside world. These mouth shaped pores, called stomata, control the amount of carbon dioxide taken into the plant for photosynthesis and the amount of water and oxygen given off into the atmosphere. These tiny, seemingly insignificant cells are key regulators of the global water and carbon cycles, yearly crop productivity, and the air we breathe. My research focuses on changes in stomatal patterning in response to global climate change. In the process of studying stomatal development, I found an appreciation for the vast cellular biodiversity found on the plant epidermis. This novel technique, optical topography, allows us to measure the3D landscape of a leaf surface. The epidermal topographies above highlight the awe-inspiring range of adaptations from all over the world. Oreopanax (far left) is a group of plants adapted to dry climates, and as such, have conserved water loss by burying stomata within the epidermis. On the opposite spectrum, American lotus (far right), anaquatic plant species, developed round, protruding cells that function to slide water off the surface thus providing stomata with constant access to fresh air.
Issue Date:2014-05
Rights Information:Copyright 2014 Miranda Haus
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-05-16

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