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Wood density plays a key role in ecological strategies and life history variation in woody plants, but little is known about its anatomical basis in shrubs. We quantified the relationships between wood density, anatomy, and climate in 61 shrub species from eight field sites along latitudinal belts between 31° and 35° in North and South America. Measurements(More)
Both engineered hydraulic systems and plant hydraulic systems are protected against failure by resistance, reparability, and redundancy. A basic rule of reliability engineering is that the level of independent redundancy should increase with increasing risk of fatal system failure. Here we show that hydraulic systems of plants function as predicted by this(More)
The maximum specific hydraulic conductivity (k(max)) of a plant sample is a measure of the ability of a plants' vascular system to transport water and dissolved nutrients under optimum conditions. Precise measurements of k(max) are needed in comparative studies of hydraulic conductivity, as well as for measuring the formation and repair of xylem embolisms.(More)
Vascular plants transport water under negative pressure without constantly creating gas bubbles that would disable their hydraulic systems. Attempts to replicate this feat in artificial systems almost invariably result in bubble formation, except under highly controlled conditions with pure water and only hydrophilic surfaces present. In theory, conditions(More)
* Hydraulic systems of shrubs vary between hydraulically integrated and modular architectures; the latter divide the shrub into independent hydraulic units. Hydraulic systems of two common North American desert shrub species, the multi-branched Ambrosia dumosa and the single-stemmed Encelia farinosa (both Asteraceae), were compared to test for division into(More)
A new method is described for measuring dissolved gas concentrations in small volumes of xylem sap using membrane inlet mass spectrometry. The technique can be used to determine concentrations of atmospheric gases, such as argon, as reported here, or for any dissolved gases and their isotopes for a variety of applications, such as rapid detection of trace(More)
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