E&E PhD Exit Seminar: On growth and form of leaves in 3 dimensions: Applications of machine vision and advanced optics

Leaves have long been considered one of the hallmarks of angiosperm evolution and diversification. Development of morphologically complex surfaces with diverse three-dimensional shape is presumably optimized to balance conflicting functional demands. Driven by selection pressures, highly variable phenotypes expressed in different environments can be a result of genetic differences or phenotypic plasticity. In recent years, the role of biomechanical factors such as regulated regional growth rate and the interaction of leaf lamina with the venation network during growth have gained significant attention. Decades of work illustrate a complex interaction of genetic and environmental factors that influence generation of leaf diversity. New recent work explores the role that mechanical, abiotic factors and cost of producing and maintaining an efficient functioning leaf may play a prominent role in evolution of leaf form. To investigate the true nature of leaf diversity and physiological relevance of three-dimensional leaf shape, non-invasive, quantitative methods are becoming increasingly relevant and state-of-the art.

In this talk, I will present the following work undertaken during my Ph.D.

A novel three-dimensional imaging and geometric quantification framework to measure leaf shape transitions, during growth in Arabidopsis thaliana.  

Second, Inspired by astonishing diversity of Pelargonium leaves; I apply landmark free, morphological quantification for in-field, ecophysiological applications.

Next, to investigate the role of vascular network in leaf shape determination, I introduced a novel volumetric, live optical imaging platform to quantify mid-vein and lamina volume.

Finally, I will present a biomechanical dataset on mechanical properties of leaf lamina and mid-vein relative to the diverse leaf shape in genus Pelargonium.