Functional Traits and Plasticity of Plants

Authored by: Elena Masarovičová , Mária Májeková , Ivana Vykouková

Handbook of Photosynthesis

Print publication date:  March  2016
Online publication date:  April  2016

Print ISBN: 9781482230734
eBook ISBN: 9781482230758
Adobe ISBN:


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The aim of comparative plant ecology is to know how functional traits vary among plant species in different habitats, under variable climatic conditions, and to what extent this variation has adaptive character. Plant species vary in morphological, anatomical, and physiological traits, despite their shared key functional purpose of gas exchange (photosynthesis, respiration, transpiration). This capacity of a given species to express different phenotype in different environments is known as phenotypic plasticity. Plasticity is an important aspect of evolution, development, and function of plants in their environments, and therefore, at present, it has been widely recognized as a significant mode of plant functional trait diversity. Variation in leaf traits can be found across species, among populations of the same species, and even between organs produced by a single plant. Similar modifications of leaf structure and form in response to the environment appear at each of these levels (across or within species, populations, or individuals).

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