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Plant Allometry

The Scaling of Form and Process

Allometry, the study of the growth rate of an organism’s parts in relation to the whole, has produced exciting results in research on animals. Now distinguished plant biologist Karl J. Niklas has written the first book to apply allometry to studies of the evolution, morphology, physiology, and reproduction of plants.

Niklas covers a broad spectrum of plant life, from unicellular algae to towering trees, including fossil as well as extant taxa. He examines the relation between organic size and variations in plant form, metabolism, reproduction, and evolution, and draws on the zoological literature to develop allometric techniques for the peculiar problems of plant height, the relation between body mass and body length, and size-correlated variations in rates of growth. For readers unfamiliar with the basics of allometry, an appendix explains basic statistical methods.

For botanists interested in an original, quantitative approach to plant evolution and function, and for zoologists who want to learn more about the value of allometric techniques for studying evolution, Plant Allometry makes a major contribution to the study of plant life.

412 pages | 3 halftones, 130 line drawings, 18 tables | 6 x 9 | © 1994

Biological Sciences: Botany, Ecology, Evolutionary Biology, Physiology, Biomechanics, and Morphology

Table of Contents

1 Growth and Metabolism
Growth and Development/Multicellularity and Modular Construction
Size and Shape
Scaling Principles/Dimensional Analysis
The 2/3-Power Law
The 3/4-Power Law
Growth and Time
Photosynthesis and Two Physical Laws
Organs versus Organisms

2 Aquatic Plants
Absorption Coefficients of Water and Plant Cells
The Package Effect and the Scaling of Cell Geometry and Shape
The Transport Equations and Dimensionless Groupings of Variables
Fluid Flow and Mass and Heat Transport: Phytoplankton
Self-Propulsion: The Volvocales
The Mechanics of Ciliary Motion
Hydrodynamic Forces and the Mechanics of Attached Aquatic Plants

3 Terrestrial Plants
Heat and Mass Transfer and Boundary Layer Resistances
Stomatal Resistances
The Mechanical Scaling of Foliage Leaves
Mechanical Design: General Considerations
The Mechanical Scaling of Tree Height
The Mechanical Scaling of Other Terrestrial Plants
The Scaling of Self-Thinning

4 Reproduction
The Scaling of Reproductive Biomass
Flowers, Fruits, and Seeds
Branches and Reproductive Structures
The Scaling of Long-Distance Dispersal
Size and Gender Expression

5 Evolution
Heterauxesis and Allomorphosis
On Being Small or Large
The Scaling of the Plant Life Cycle
The Evolution of Plant Life Histories

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