Thomas Speck

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The Siluro-Devonian primary radiation of land biotas is the terrestrial equivalent of the much-debated Cambrian "explosion" of marine faunas. Both show the hallmarks of novelty radiations (phenotypic diversity increases much more rapidly than species diversity across an ecologically undersaturated and thus low-competition landscape), and both ended with the(More)
The twig bases within the genus Salix were investigated. Brittleness of twig bases as defined in the literature neither correlates with Young's modulus nor with growth strains, which were measured for S. alba, S. fragilis and S. x rubens. For the species S. alba, S. appendiculata, S. eleagnos, S. fragilis, S. purpurea, S. triandra, S. viminalis, and S. x(More)
Biomechanical responses of stems of 6- to 7-year-old spruce [Picea abies (L.) Karst.] and beech (Fagus sylvatica L) trees were studied after 4 years of growth in elevated atmospheric CO2 in combination with a nitrogen treatment and on two different soil types. At the end of the treatment, stems were harvested and tested in fresh and air-dried status.(More)
The hollow stem of Equisetum giganteum owes its mechanical stability to an outer ring of strengthening tissue, which provides stiffness and strength in the longitudinal direction, but also to an inner lining of turgid parenchyma, which lends resistance to local buckling. With a height >2.5 m isolated stems are mechanically unstable. However, in dense stands(More)
The neotropical liana Croton nuntians (Euphorbiaceae) can occur in a variety of different growth habits. Juvenile freestanding plants are mechanically stable without support and resemble morphologically young trees or shrubs, whereas adult plants are climbers. Ontogenetic variation of bending and torsion properties of different growth phases are analyzed by(More)
Trees, shrubs, lianas and herbs have widely different mechanical architectures, which can also vary phenotypically with the environment. This review investigates how environmental effects, particularly mechanical perturbation, can influence biomechanical development in self-supporting and climbing growth forms. The bifacial vascular cambium is discussed in(More)
Plant and animal biomechanists have much in common. Although their frame of reference differs, they think about the natural world in similar ways. While researchers studying animals might explore airflow around flapping wings, the actuation of muscles in arms and legs, or the material properties of spider silk, researchers studying plants might explore the(More)
Unstable and mechanically demanding habitats like wind-exposed open fields or the wave-swept intertidal require rapid adaptive processes to ensure survival. The mechanism of passive reconfiguration was analyzed in two plant models exposed to irregular flow of water or air, two species of the brown seaweed Durvillaea and the giant reed Arundo donax.(More)
Among trapping mechanisms in carnivorous plants, those termed 'active' have especially fascinated scientists since Charles Darwin's early works because trap movements are involved. Fast snap-trapping and suction of prey are two of the most spectacular examples for how these plants actively catch animals, mainly arthropods, for a substantial nutrient supply.(More)
Bananas are among the largest herbs in the world and their lightweight petioles hold up huge leaves. This study examined how the petioles manage to achieve adequate rigidity to do this, while allowing extensive and reversible reconfiguration in high winds. Morphological and anatomical examination of the petioles and leaves of Musa textilis suggested how(More)