Effect of leaf wettability on supercooling ability of plants from different altitudinal origin

Effect of leaf wettability on supercooling ability of plants from different altitudinal origin

Introduction
Effect of leaf wettability on supercooling ability of plants from different altitudinal originThe duration and amount of water captured on leaves and its functional significance is highly varied. Leaf surface wettability influences water absorption, gas exchange, pathogen infection, nutrient leaching, contamination by pollutants, self-cleaning properties and in freezing environments the probability of extrinsic ice nucleation. To test the impact of environment on the development of leaf wettability, this functional trait was measured in dominant plant species along altitudinal environmental gradients in the European Alps, the Chilean Andes and on the wet and dry slopes of the Nepalese Himalayas.  Plants from the understorey and open places in woodlands were also compared. Leaf wettability was assessed by droplet contact angle (θ), retention and leaf inclination measurement.
Structural properties for low wettability are developed in cold and dry environments and open sites with frequent dew formation as it appears to be an important functional trait to prevent a number of the negative effects adhering surface water may have.

Research Questions

  • Effect of altitude, aridity and the micro habitat (understorey versus open places) on leaf surface wettability
  • Differences between upper and lower leaf surfaces
  • Differences in droplet retention
  • Functionality of leaf wettability

Publications
ARYAL, B., NEUNER, G.: Leaf wettability decreases along an extreme altitudinal gradient. Oecologia, 162, 1-9, DOI 10.1007/s00442-009-1437-3 (2010).

Funding
2006-2009  EZA-Project 894/05 (PI: Gilbert NEUNER)

Personnel involved
Biva ARYAL
Gilbert NEUNER

Effect of leaf wettability on supercooling ability of plants from different altitudinal origin

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