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Convergent tip-to-base widening of water-conducting conduits in the tallest bryophytes

Citation

Bok, Erin; Gregory, Jordan; Brodribb, Timothy; Carriquí, Marc (2021), Convergent tip-to-base widening of water-conducting conduits in the tallest bryophytes, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.4qrfj6qbg

Abstract

  • Background: Tip-to-base conduit widening is considered a key mechanism that enables vascular plants to grow tall by decreasing the hydraulic resistance imposed by increasing height. Widening of hydraulic anatomy (larger conducting elements towards the base of the vascular system) minimizes gradients in leaf-specific hydraulic conductance with plant height, allowing uniform photosynthesis across the crown of trees. Tip-to-base conduit widening has also been associated with changes in conduit number.  However, in bryophytes, despite having representatives with internal water conducting tissue, conduit widening has been scarcely investigated.
  • Methods: Here, we examined the changes in hydroid diameter and number with distance from plant tip in Dawsonia superba Grev. and D. polytrichoides R.Br., two representatives of the genus containing the tallest extant bryophytes.
  • Key results: We found that the position of these moss species on the global scale of conduit size and plant size was consistent with a general scaling among plants with internal water transport. Within plants we found similar patterns of conduit widening and number with distance from plant tip in endohydric mosses to those observed in vascular plants.
  • Conclusions:  Thus, this study demonstrates that land plants growing upwards in the atmosphere show analogous conduit widening of hydraulic structures, suggesting efficient internal water transport is a convergent adaptation for photosynthesis on land.

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