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Abstract Detail

Bioinformatic and Biometric Methods in Plant Morphology

Smith, Selena [1], Hu, Catherine [1], Benedict, John [2], Collinson, Margaret [3], Leong-Škorničková, Jana [4], Xiao, Xianghui [5], Fife, Julie [6], Marone, Federica [6].

The use of x-ray tomography in plant morphological studies: an example from Zingiberales.

X-ray tomography offers a novel approach to plant morphological studies by permitting rapid acquisition of three-dimensional morphological and anatomical data of plant organs in a non-destructive manner. Thus large sample sizes can be efficiently studied, as well as rare samples. Tomographic data result in a series of digital slices through an object, with differences in x-ray attenuation being represented by variation in grey values. These series are input into software such as Avizo, Amira, or VGstudioMAX to examine datasets. While there is a trade-off between object size and resolution, resolution can be very high with small objects (e.g., as low as 200 nm). X-ray tomography has becoming increasingly used in botanical studies, and it has great potential to enhance morphological and anatomical studies of fossil plants and modern comparative material, as demonstrated by several recent studies. These datasets provide an excellent opportunity to examine more cryptic morphologies, e.g., structures that are normally embedded within other tissues. We are using synchrotron X-ray tomography to understand seed morphology in Zingiberales (gingers, bananas and relatives) for comparison with the fossil record and to infer phylogenetically significant characters. In many families in Zingiberales an operculum is present but not readily studied without x-ray tomography. Digital dissections reveal the morphology of this structure. We have analyzed >50 species to date. Morphometric analyses can then be used to assess the taxonomic significance of operculum shape among families in Zingiberales. This example demonstrates that there is much potential in the application of digital datasets to understanding and quantifying plant morphology.

Broader Impacts:

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1 - University of Michigan, Earth & Environmental Sciences and Museum of Paleontology, 1100 North University Ave., 2534 CC Little Building, Ann Arbor, MI, 48109, USA
2 - University of Guam, Biology, Mangilao, Guam
3 - Royal Holloway University of London, Earth Sciences, Egham Hill, Egham, TW20 0EX, UK
4 - Singapore Botanic Gardens, Singapore, Singapore
5 - Argonne National Lab, Advanced Photon Source, Argonne, IL, 60439, USA
6 - Paul Scherrer Institut, Swiss Light Source, Villigen, Switzerland

x-ray tomography.

Presentation Type: Symposium or Colloquium Presentation
Session: C2
Location: Prince of Wales/Riverside Hilton
Date: Monday, July 29th, 2013
Time: 1:30 PM
Number: C2001
Abstract ID:733
Candidate for Awards:None

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