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The secret math of plants: UCLA biologists uncover rules that govern leaf design

Life scientists from UCLA's College of Letters and Science have discovered fundamental rules of leaf design that underlie plants' ability to produce leaves that vary enormously in size. In their mathematical design, leaves are the "perfect machines," said Lawren Sack, a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and senior author of the research.

 

 The UCLA team discovered the mathematical relationships using "allometric analysis," which looks at how the proportions of parts of an organism change with differences in total size. This approach has been used by scientists since Galileo but had never before been applied to the interior of leaves. Reporting in the October issue of the American Journal of Botany, the biologists focused on how leaf anatomy varies across leaves of different sizes. They examined plant species from around the world, all grown on the UCLA campus.

 

While it is easy to observe major differences in leaf surface area among species, they said, differences in leaf thickness are less obvious but equally important. "Once you start rubbing leaves between your fingers, you can feel that some leaves are floppy and thin, while others are rigid and thick," said Grace John, a UCLA doctoral student in ecology and evolutionary biology and lead author of the research. "We started with the simplest questions — but ones that had never been answered clearly — such as whether leaves that are thicker or larger in area are constructed of different sizes or types of cells."

 

The researchers embedded pieces of leaf in plastic and cut cross-sections thinner than a single cell to observe each leaf's microscopic layout. This allowed them to test the underlying relationship between cell and tissue dimensions and leaf size across species. Leaves are made up of three basic tissues, each containing cells with particular functions: the outer layer, or epidermis; the mesophyll, which contains cells that conduct photosynthesis; and the vascular tissue, whose cells are involved in water and sugar transport.

 

The team found that the thicker the leaf, the larger the size of the cells in all of its tissues — except in the vascular tissue. These relationships also applied to the components of the individual cells. Plant cells, unlike animal cells, are surrounded by carbohydrate-based cell walls, and the scientists discovered that the larger cells of thicker leaves are surrounded by thicker cell walls, in a strict proportionality.

 

The team was surprised by the "extraordinary" strength of the relationships linking cell size, cell-wall thickness and leaf thickness across diverse and distantly related plant species. These relationships can be described by new, simple mathematical equations, effectively allowing scientists to predict the dimension of cells and cell walls based on the thickness of a leaf. In most cases, the relationships the team found were what is known as "isometric."


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Aprendiendo a Distancia
Colaborando para una mejor educación en línea para adelantar la evolución de la enseñanza y aprendizaje usando la tecnología y pedagogía como estrategias.
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10 páginas para crear botones CSS y PNG totalmente gratis

10 páginas para crear botones CSS y PNG totalmente gratis | Aprendiendo a Distancia | Scoop.it
Una selección compuesta por 10 páginas para crear botones CSS y PNG de forma sencilla y completamente gratuita. Seguro que te son de utilidad.
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Aprendizaje cooperativo hoy: una paradoja y tres interrogantes

Aprendizaje cooperativo hoy: una paradoja y tres interrogantes | Aprendiendo a Distancia | Scoop.it
Escribe José Blas García “Solo podré  alcanzar mis objetivos, si y solo si, tú  consigues el tuyo “ E l  Aprendizaj
Via HumbertoPortocarrero
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Eneko Martínez Goikolea's curator insight, April 11, 2:00 AM
Aprendizaje cooperativo hoy: una paradoja y tres interrogantes | #infografía via @juandoming http://sco.lt/...
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6 Apps for Virtual Reality Field Trips Including Google Expeditions 

6 Apps for Virtual Reality Field Trips Including Google Expeditions  | Aprendiendo a Distancia | Scoop.it
Virtual reality field trips, like Google Expeditions, have transformed how we see the world. Liven up your class or playtime with VR virtual field trips!
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Cinco pasos para ser más creativo como docente

Cinco pasos para ser más creativo como docente | Aprendiendo a Distancia | Scoop.it
El trabajo como docente requiere de gran creatividad. Extraemos los pasos para ser más creativo de “A Technique for producing Ideas“, de James Webb Young.

Via Ramon Aragon
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El 96 por ciento de escuelas públicas guatemaltecas carecen de internet

El 96 por ciento de escuelas públicas guatemaltecas carecen de internet | Aprendiendo a Distancia | Scoop.it
Saltillo, 27 Mar . - Miguel Ángel Riquelme Solís acudió al Instituto Electoral de Coahuila para presentar su candidatura al gobierno de Coahuila por los partidos PRI, Nueva Alianza, PVEM, Socia

Via ICANN
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ernestprats's curator insight, March 29, 1:44 AM
Para que luego nos vayamos quejando del ancho de banda en nuestros centros. En Balears, normal 20 mb ADSL migrando a fibra óptica 300 mb dónde esté disponible
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Google's Neural Machine Translation engine learns three new languages, with more on the way

Google's Neural Machine Translation engine learns three new languages, with more on the way | Aprendiendo a Distancia | Scoop.it
Google is expanding its contextual Neural Machine Translation to Hindi, Russian, and Vietnamese, with more languages on the way.
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Pixel Map Generator

Pixel Map Generator | Aprendiendo a Distancia | Scoop.it
Create a stunning interactive maps with simple-to-use user interface. Save it as image or JavaScript code for easy publishing on your own website.
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370 free online programming and computer science courses you can start in March

370 free online programming and computer science courses you can start in March | Aprendiendo a Distancia | Scoop.it
A normal credit card payment terminal on the left, a credit card skimmer on the right. These skimmers are planted within stores by thieves and used to steal credit card information — sometimes for…
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8 Great Educational Websites for Newbie Teachers via Educators Technology

8 Great Educational  Websites for Newbie Teachers via Educators Technology | Aprendiendo a Distancia | Scoop.it
Free resource of educational web tools, 21st century skills, tips and tutorials on how teachers and students integrate technology into education

Via Tom D'Amico (@TDOttawa) , Juergen Wagner
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Armando's curator insight, March 2, 4:57 AM
8 Great Educational Websites for Newbie Teachers via Educators Technology
Dr. Theresa Kauffman's curator insight, March 2, 9:57 AM
Fabulous resources to engage learners in meaningful activities to learn. I have used almost all of these and I highly recommend each one.
Inmaculada Bautista Gil's curator insight, March 3, 2:47 PM

#EASC17_UNED 8 great educational websites

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Are We Innovating, or Just Digitizing Traditional Teaching?

Are We Innovating, or Just Digitizing Traditional Teaching? | Aprendiendo a Distancia | Scoop.it
Blended learning has the potential to transform the way teachers teach and students learn—if we take advantage of all that it offers

Via Chris Carter, Bonnie Bracey Sutton, Dean J. Fusto, Ivon Prefontaine, PhD
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GwynethJones's curator insight, February 26, 3:08 PM

Interesting take!

Gemma Ballarín's curator insight, February 27, 3:24 AM
21st century teaching
Ivon Prefontaine, PhD's curator insight, March 1, 4:42 PM
My experience was that quite often we were just digitizing traditonal teaching. The challenge is to realize that and stop when it begins to happen. As well, it is challenging when people outside the classroom tell teachers this is what you have to do. I read a post today by someone who has not been in a classroom for several years and was not in one for long describing his innovatiion as providing more opportunity for classroom management. That is a major challenge when we are told by those outside the classroom this is what we have to do, but it is not grounded in real practice.
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Your Digital Footprint Matters | Internet Society

Your Digital Footprint Matters | Internet Society | Aprendiendo a Distancia | Scoop.it

Your digital footprint paints a picture of who you are.

Make sure it's accurate. Learn how in a few easy tutorials.

Every day, whether we want to or not, most of us contribute to a growing portrait of who we are online; a portrait that is probably more public than we assume.

This portrait helps companies target content at specific markets and consumers, helps employers look into your background, and helps advertisers track your movements across multiple websites. Whatever you do online, you might be leaving digital footprints behind.

So no matter what you do online it’s important that you know what kind of trail you’re leaving, and what the possible effects can be. 

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Top 100 - Innovaciones educativas

Top 100 - Innovaciones educativas | Aprendiendo a Distancia | Scoop.it
El presente informe recoge los resultados del proyecto Top 100 Innovaciones Educativas 2016. Se trata de una amplia investigación que Fundación Telefónica ha llevado a cabo a lo largo de este año para identificar iniciativas educativas innovadoras, tanto nacionales como internacionales, que han demostrado su eficacia para mejorar las competencias de los estudiantes para enfrentarse…
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BlendKit 2017: Becoming a Blended Learning Designer - Canvas Network | Free online courses | MOOCs

BlendKit 2017: Becoming a Blended Learning Designer - Canvas Network | Free online courses | MOOCs | Aprendiendo a Distancia | Scoop.it
The Canvas Network offers free online courses and classes from the world's leading universities. Find a MOOC and enroll now to get started on your new journey!
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Comunidades de aprendizaje para innovar. Comunidades de innovación para aprender

Comunidades de aprendizaje para innovar. Comunidades de innovación para aprender | Aprendiendo a Distancia | Scoop.it
Todos sabemos que la digitalización de nuestras organizaciones es un fenómeno imparable pues promete generar más inteligencia, capacidad competitiva e innovación. Ya podemos adivinar que implicará un enorme impacto sobre las formas de trabajar y cómo entendemos la gestión. Las comunidades virtuales son los protagonistas de esta revolución organizativa sin precedentes, son la nueva unidad…

Via Ramiro Aduviri Velasco, gaviot, Luis Alfonso Romero Gámez
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iConvert Icons: web gratuita para crear y convertir imágenes en Iconos

iConvert Icons: web gratuita para crear y convertir imágenes en Iconos | Aprendiendo a Distancia | Scoop.it
iConvert Icons es una utilidad web gratuita, sin registro, muy útil para crear y convertir imágenes en iconos para Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, etc.
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Poner al centro educativo en el centro del cambio

Poner al centro educativo en el centro del cambio | Aprendiendo a Distancia | Scoop.it
Escribe Carlos Magro La educación se encuentra hoy en una encrucijada , dice  Mariano Fernández Enguita  ( pdf ). Una encrucijad
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Ethics and the IT Professional

Ethics and the IT Professional | Aprendiendo a Distancia | Scoop.it
Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should do it. Like any other profession, information technology benefits from a standard, accepted code of ethics that helps guide behavior in sometimes confusing contexts.
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