Levionnois, S., Salmon, C., Alméras, T., Clair, B., Ziegler, C., Coste, S., et al. (2021). Anatomies, vascular architectures, and mechanics underlying the leaf size-stem size spectrum in 42 Neotropical tree species. Journal of Experimental Botany, 72(22), 7957–7969.
Abstract: The leaf size-stem size spectrum is one of the main dimensions of plant ecological strategies. Yet the anatomical, mechanical, and hydraulic implications of small vs. large shoots are still poorly understood. We investigated 42 tropical rainforest tree species in French Guiana, with a wide range of leaf areas at the shoot level. We quantified the scaling of hydraulic and mechanical constraints with shoot size estimated as the water potential difference ΔΨ and the bending angle ΔΦ, respectively. We investigated how anatomical tissue area, flexural stiffness and xylem vascular architecture affect such scaling by deviating (or not) from theoretical isometry with shoot size variation. Vessel diameter and conductive path length were found to be allometrically related to shoot size, thereby explaining the independence between ΔΨ and shoot size. Leaf mass per area, stem length, and the modulus of elasticity were allometrically related with shoot size, explaining the independence between ΔΦ and shoot size. Our study also shows that the maintenance of both water supply and mechanical stability across the shoot size range are not in conflict.