Log in

Epic experiment

After six months of preparation, Bex, Millie, Chris and their band of workers have begun a plant growth experiment of epic proportions. Using destructive growth analysis, they are comparing the growth rates and allocation patterns of 220 grass species: a total of >2000 individuals!  After this experiment is over, they will be starting all over again with another set of species, aiming for a total of >400 species. We think this is the largest comparative experiment yet attempted under common environmental conditions.  How do some species grow faster than others? How is growth rate influenced by physiological innovation, ecological adaptation, life history, growth habit and phylogenetic history? And which are the most important determinants of growth? We hope to have some answers in the coming months. And with Marj measuring photosynthesis in these same plants, we should also be able to ask similar questions about carbon assimilation and its relationship with growth. Watch this space ….

Comments are closed.