Effect of some external factors on root hair demography in Trifolium repens L. and Lolium perenne L.
Light microscopy, low ionic strength solution culture and image analysis methods were used to make detailed measurements on root hair populations of different genotypes of white clover (Trifolium repens L.) and ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.). A model of root hair population structure was developed and validated that will facilitate research on root hairs of these species. Diagrams were drawn of the root hair length and frequency on entire root systems. The distributions of root hairs on these diagrams often differed from textbook diagrams of root hairs because root hair length and frequency varied considerably along the root axis. The key issue examined was the response at species, population and genotype levels of root hair populations perturbed by aluminium and phosphate, and the implications of these responses for our understanding of the strategies adopted by plants growing in stressful environments. Demographic growth analysis gave the best understanding of the mechanisms of root hair population response to genetic variability, resource depletion and environmental perturbation. Root hair length seemed to be controlled by the individual root hair. However the number of root hairs appeared to be controlled by the root. Therefore it is the root that controls the distribution of the hairs on the root, and how this distribution is modified by perturbation. Root hair populations were shown to have strategies that were similar to their shoot system growth strategies-guerrilla for clover, phalangeal for ryegrass. The root and root hair systems, and shoot systems also demonstrated similar characteristics when the r and K strategy model was applied. At an ecosystem level, clover and ryegrass occupied the same orthogonal in the CSR (competitive-stress-ruderal) model. Therefore at a larger scale, these plants are able to coexist, but they do this by having different strategies at a species level.
School:The University of Auckland / Te Whare Wananga o Tamaki Makaurau
School Location:New Zealand
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:biology botany 0309 ecology 0329 plant physiology 0817 fields of research 270000 biological sciences 270700 and evolution 270702 marine estuarine incl ichthyology
Date of Publication:01/01/1999