Friday, January 11, 2008

New in HOORC's Library: comparative growth in mopane trees

Mopane trees near Khwai, 2006

HOORC environmental chemist Dr. Philippa Huntsman-Mapila joined Elmar M. Veenendaal, Khanyisa B. Mantlana, Norman W. Pammenter, Piet Weber, and Jon Lloyd to study differences in physiological and morphological traits between the tall and short forms of mopane (Colophospermum mopane) trees growing near Maun, Botswana, to determine if differences between the two physiognomic types are attributable to the way they exploit available soilwater. The researchers found that differences in the use of water appeared attributable to differences in root depth and density between the physiognomic types. Stomatal regulation of water use and carbon assimilation differed between years, with the tall form having a consistently more conservative water-use strategy as the dry season progressed than the short form. You can find the results of the work, recently published as Growth form and seasonal variation in leaf gas exchange of Colophospermum mopane savanna trees in northwest Botswana, in a recent issue of Tree Physiology, in HOORC's Library.

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