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Quantifying plasticity in vessel grouping – added value from the image analysis tool ROXAS

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Chapter Summary

This chapter presents a new approach for quantifying several and partly novel parameters of vessel grouping in entire cross sections and tree cores using the image analysis tool ROXAS. It tests the potential of ROXAS for wholesample grouping analysis with data of the forb Verbascum thapsus collected at two sites with contrasting climate, and suggests some directions for future studies into vessel grouping. ROXAS is an image analysis tool for quantifying the xylem anatomy in crosssectional samples of trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants. The image analysis tool ROXAS accurately calculated established and novel aspects of vessel grouping patterns. The large number of vessels analyzed by ROXAS therefore constitutes an important methodological advancement. Other key advantages of automated quantification of vessel grouping lie within its objectivity and reproducibility. Vessel grouping is a very poorly investigated functional trait of the xylem hydraulic system.

Keywords: hydraulic system; image analysis tool; ROXAS; vessel grouping; xylem



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