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Dry mass costs of deploying leaf area in relation to leaf size
Article first published online: 15 MAR 2005
Volume 19, Issue 1, pages 88–97, February 2005
How to Cite
PICKUP, M., WESTOBY, M. and BASDEN, A. (2005), Dry mass costs of deploying leaf area in relation to leaf size. Functional Ecology, 19: 88–97. doi: 10.1111/j.0269-8463.2005.00927.x
- Issue published online: 15 MAR 2005
- Article first published online: 15 MAR 2005
- Received 5 January 2004; revised 27 July 2004; accepted 3 September 2004
- leaf area ratio;
- leaf mass fraction;
- leaf size;
- plant architecture;
- wood density
- 1The leaf size–twig size spectrum is an important spectrum of variation between species, although the costs and benefits of larger vs smaller leaf size are poorly understood. This study quantified the dry mass costs of deploying leaf area in relation to leaf size, across 70 species from four sites contrasted on the basis of rainfall and soil nutrients in east-temperate Australia.
- 2Leaf mass fraction beyond 10 mm2 of conductive cross-section (LMF10) varied threefold and was strongly positively correlated with leaf size, both across all species and within each habitat. This and other key correlations were significant both across species and as evolutionary divergences.
- 3An LMF10 advantage for larger-leaved species should translate into a proportional advantage in dry mass acquisition, yet species with small leaves persist and sustain populations. This raises the question as to what factors might counterbalance an LMF advantage associated with larger leaf size.
- 4Within some sites, specific leaf area (SLA) decreased with leaf size, which counterbalanced the LMF10 advantage. Within other sites, and across all sites, SLA did not decline with leaf size. In these comparisons other factors, such as avoidance of overheating, must counterbalance the LMF10 advantage to larger-leaved species.
- 5Wood density was negatively correlated with leaf size. However, the relationship was weaker within sites in the lower rainfall zone, and species in these sites had generally higher wood density. Sapwood cross-sectional area per unit leaf area (Huber value) varied approximately ninefold across all species, and was correlated with both leaf size and SLA across all species, but not within sites.