Master's Theses

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Date of Award

Summer 1959

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Biology

Advisor

Committee Chair

Abstract

Salt cedar (Tamarix pentandra Pall.) is a phreatophyte which has created a major water conservation problem in the southwestern part of the United States. This plant has the ability to adapt to many different types of habitats. It may be found growing in xeric chalkflats, in heavy clay loam soils, and in mesic sandbars near streams. It was the purpose of this study to determine any variation in the internal anatomy of the plant due to a difference in the habitat in which it was growing. Two distinct habitats, a mesic sandbar and an upland shelterbelt, were selected to measure the differences in the internal anatomy. Samples of the roots, stems, and leaves from each habitat were collected and placed in F. A. A. solution. The samples were then sectioned, stained, and mounted on slides. The diameter of the vessel tubes, the length of the vessel tubes, the number of vessel tubes per unit area, and the thickness of the cork tissue were the criteria used to measure the difference between the roots and stems of plants growing in the two habitats. Criteria used to measure the difference in the anatomy of the leaf were the thickness of the cuticle, the number of stomata per unit area, the thickness of the palisade and spongy parenchyma, and the amount of intercellular air spaces. Numerous measurements were made of each criteria and standard deviations and standard errors were calculated. All significant results were significant at the five percent level of confidence. There was a significant difference in the vessel diameter, vessel length, and the thickness of the cork tissue in both the root and the stem from the two different habitats. In both the root and the stem, there was no significant difference in the number of vessels per unit area. There was very little differentiation in the anatomy of leaves from the two habitats. There was a slight difference in the thickness of the cuticle and a significant difference was found in the amount of intercellular air spaces in the spongy parenchyma. The roots and stems of plants growing in the mesic habitat had thicker cork tissue, smaller diameter vessels, and slightly longer vessels than the roots and stems from the plants in the shelterbelt. The leaves of the plants from the mesic habitat had thinner cuticle layers and larger intercellular air spaces than those collected in the shelterbelt.

Rights

Copyright 1959 Robert L. Ziegler

Comments

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