Avocado Leaf Plasticity Essay

780 WordsDec 9, 20134 Pages
DIFFERENCES IN SUN AND SHADE LEAVES OF AVOCADO TREES BY PHENOTYPIC PLASTICITY INTRODUCTION: Phenotypic plasticity, or differing phenotypes from one genotype in different environmental conditions, is a way for sessile organisms to adapt to changing environmental conditions (Valladares et al., 2007). Plasticity was expected to be abundant, however, it did not occur as often in nature due to resource limitations and environmental stress (Valladares et al., 2007). An experiment by Matos tested the phenotypic plasticity to light availability in shade and sun leaves of coffee trees (Matos et al., 2009). Their research indicated that "compared [to] sun leaves, shade leaves had a lower stomatal density, a thinner palisade mesophyll, a…show more content…
This process was done twice on each tree in the understory for shade leaves, and in the canopy for sun leaves. Each leaf was measured for its surface area, length-to-width ratio, mass, specific leaf mass, and color. Surface area was measured by a leaf area meter in squared centimeters. Length-to-width ratio was measured by measuring the length (vertically along the bridge of the leaf) and the width (horizontally on the widest part of the leaf) with a ruler in centimeters, and dividing the length by the width. Mass was calculated by a balance in grams. Specific leaf mass (thickness) was measured by dividing the mass by its surface area in grams per squared centimeter. Color was measured by having three reference leaves provided by the instructor, indicating light (L), medium (M), and dark (D) leaves and compared our collected leaves. After recording all of the data, these data were then input into a statistical program called StatCat to determine normality through a normality test. The data for surface area, length-to-width ratio, mass, and specific leaf mass for sun and shade leaves were both normal, therefore, we chose a paired sample t-test for all of them. A normality test was not needed for color for sun and shade leaves due to it being a nominal scale data. The number of light, medium, and dark shade leaves were tallied up according to color, and the same was done for the sun leaves. A contingency table was made in

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