An ecological perspective on water shedding from leaves
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Water shedding from leaves is a complex process depending on multiple leaf traits interacting with rain, wind and air humidity, and with the entire plant and surrounding vegetation. Here, we synthesise the current knowledge of the physics of water shedding with implications for plant physiology and ecology. We argue that the drop retention angle is a more meaningful parameter to characterise the water shedding capacity of leaves than the commonly measured static contact angle. The understanding of the mechanics of water shedding is largely derived from laboratory experiments on artificial rather than natural surfaces, often on individual aspects such as surface wettability or drop impacts. In contrast, field studies attempting to identify the adaptive value of leaf traits linked to water shedding are largely correlative in nature, with inconclusive results. We make a strong case for taking the hypothesis-driven experimental approach of biomechanical lab studies into a real-world field setting to gain a comprehensive understanding of leaf water shedding in a whole-plant ecological and evolutionary context.
Lenz , A-K , Bauer , U & Ruxton , G D 2022 , ' An ecological perspective on water shedding from leaves ' , Journal of Experimental Botany , vol. 73 , no. 4 , pp. 1176–1189 . https://doi.org/10.1093/jxb/erab479
Journal of Experimental Botany
Copyright © The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Experimental Biology. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
DescriptionUB is funded by a Royal Society University Research Fellowship (UF150138) and Anne-Kristin Lenz is supported by a Royal Society Enhancement Award (RGF/EA/180059) held by UB.
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