Plant Biomechanics: An Engineering Approach to Plant Form and Function

Paperback | August 1, 1992

byKarl J. Niklas

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In this first comprehensive treatment of plant biomechanics, Karl J. Niklas analyzes plant form and provides a far deeper understanding of how form is a response to basic physical laws. He examines the ways in which these laws constrain the organic expression of form, size, and growth in a variety of plant structures, and in plants as whole organisms, and he draws on the fossil record as well as on studies of extant species to present a genuinely evolutionary view of the response of plants to abiotic as well as biotic constraints. Well aware that some readers will need an introduction to basic biomechanics or to basic botany, Niklas provides both, as well as an extensive glossary, and he has included a number of original drawings and photographs to illustrate major structures and concepts.

This volume emphasizes not only methods of biomechanical analysis but also the ways in which it allows one to ask, and answer, a host of interesting questions. As Niklas points out in the first chapter, "From the archaic algae to the most derived multicellular terrestrial plants, from the spectral properties of light-harvesting pigments in chloroplasts to the stacking of leaves in the canopies of trees, the behavior of plants is in large part responsive to and intimately connected with the physical environment. In addition, plants tend to be exquisitely preserved in the fossil record, thereby giving us access to the past." Its biomechanical analyses of various types of plant cells, organs, and whole organisms, and its use of the earliest fossil records of plant life as well as sophisticated current studies of extant species, make this volume a unique and highly integrative contribution to studies of plant form, evolution, ecology, and systematics.

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From Our Editors

The aim of this book is explore how plants function, grow, reproduce, and evolve within the limits set by their physical environment. It was written in the firm belief that organisms cannot violate the laws of physics and chemistry and that knowing how these laws operate and confine the organic expression of size, form, and structure i...

From the Publisher

In this first comprehensive treatment of plant biomechanics, Karl J. Niklas analyzes plant form and provides a far deeper understanding of how form is a response to basic physical laws. He examines the ways in which these laws constrain the organic expression of form, size, and growth in a variety of plant structures, and in plants as ...

From the Jacket

The aim of this book is explore how plants function, grow, reproduce, and evolve within the limits set by their physical environment. It was written in the firm belief that organisms cannot violate the laws of physics and chemistry and that knowing how these laws operate and confine the organic expression of size, form, and structure i...

Format:PaperbackDimensions:622 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.5 inPublished:August 1, 1992Publisher:University Of Chicago Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0226586316

ISBN - 13:9780226586311

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Preface
1. Some Biological and Philosophical Preliminaries
2. The Mechanical Behavior of Materials
3. The Effect of Geometry on Mechanical Behavior
4. Plant-Water Relations
5. Plant Cell Walls
6. The Mechanical Behavior of Tissues
7. The Mechanical Attributes of Organs
8. The Plant Body
9. Fluid Mechanics
10. Biomechanics and Plant Evolution
Glossary
References
Author Index
Subject Index

From Our Editors

The aim of this book is explore how plants function, grow, reproduce, and evolve within the limits set by their physical environment. It was written in the firm belief that organisms cannot violate the laws of physics and chemistry and that knowing how these laws operate and confine the organic expression of size, form, and structure is essential to understanding biology.