Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Exp Bot. 2003 Sep;54(390):2007-14. Epub 2003 Jul 16.

Mechanics and chemistry of rain forest leaves: canopy and understorey compared.

Author information

  • 1Department of Ecology and Evolution, University of Chicago, 1101 East 57th Street, Chicago, IL 60637, USA.


Despite the potential for changes during transit or preservation, the physicochemical properties of leaves are typically measured in a laboratory setting. A suite of laboratory methods adapted for use in the field is described here. The equipment is portable and operable in remote environments. Each technique has been validated against laboratory standards and has been tested throughout the tropics in a variety of ecological contexts. The properties of canopy and understorey leaves from Central Panama are reported here. The results show clear differences between leaves growing in different light regimes. Canopy leaves are tougher and possess greater concentrations of protein, phenols, and tannins. The implication of these results to the resource availability hypothesis, which proposes trade-offs between physiology and defences against herbivory, is discussed.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk