Leaf size, shape, and parameters of venation in Betula pendula and B. pubescens have been studied along a 1600-km latitudinal zonal transect in the Urals and Western Siberia. The results show that leaf size and venation density depend on the geographic location of population, with these parameters in the two species changing in opposite directions along the transect. In its northern part (forest tundra-southern taiga), B. pubescens shows a positive correlation of leaf area with long-term-average air temperature, while this correlation in B. pendula is negative. In the southern part, correlations of leaf size with long-term average precipitation in the two species are also opposite in sign. Parameters of leaf shape in both species depend mainly on weather conditions in the current year rather than on long-term average climatic parameters. The conclusion is drawn that B. pendula and B. pubescens have different mechanisms of structural adaptation of leaves to climate and weather conditions that are based on changes in leaf size and shape.
Russian Journal of Ecology – Springer Journals
Published: Jul 22, 2010
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