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ERIC Number: EJ939865
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004
Pages: 5
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 15
ISSN: ISSN-0021-9266
A Plumber's-Eye View of Xylem Water Transport in Woody Plants
Martinez-Vilalta, Jordi; Pinol, Josep
Journal of Biological Education, v38 n3 p137-141 2004
We present a practical for university-level students aimed at measuring and comparing xylem hydraulic properties of co-existing plant species. After sampling branches of several woody species in the field, their main hydraulic properties were measured using a simple set-up. Hydraulic conductivity ("K[subscript h]") was calculated as the ratio between water flow through a plant segment and the pressure gradient driving the flow. The percent reduction in conductivity due to xylem embolism (i.e. air-filled conduits) was estimated by comparing "K[subscript h]" before and after flushing the measure segments to remove all native embolism. Raw hydraulic conductivity was standardised by cross-sectional wood area or supported leaf area to obtain more meaningful measures of conducting capacity. The results showed differences among study species, particularly between conifers and angiosperms. These differences are briefly discussed in terms of wood anatomy and the general biology of the species. Overall the practical provides a good opportunity for students to appreciate the main aspects of xylem water transport and the constraints it imposes on plant water relations. (Contains 3 figures and 1 table.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A