Changes in structural characteristics of leaves as related to water availability from trees growing in the Costal Plateau of Guánica Dry Forest
MetadataShow full item record
Trees in the Coastal Plateau of Guánica Dry Forest are growing under a combination of environmental stressors such as water, nutrient availability, salt spray, and wind that determine their capacity to grow and maintain their photosynthetic structures. Leaf structural characteristics such as weight, area and Specific leaf Area (SLA, cm2/g dry weight) provide a measure of how plants use nutrients and water from their environment. We compare leaf’s characteristics in relation to water availability. SLA is a method that is easily measured and relates to how species acquire and use water resources. SLA is defined as the measurement of the leaf’s thickness that is calculated dividing leaf’s area by dry weight of the leaf (Garnier, et.al. 2001). This measurement demonstrates the ratio between area and dry weight which establishes the physiological cost of production on the leaf (Medina et al. 1990, Dingkuhn , et.al., 2001). We hypothesize specific leaf area is directly proportional to water availability. Therefore, the rainfall conditions through out the year would reflect changes in SLA.