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Behavioral transitions during metamorphosis: Skototropism’s successors

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Title:
Behavioral transitions during metamorphosis: Skototropism’s successors
Translated Title:
Transiciones de comportamiento durante la metamorfosis: Los sucesores de escototropismo ( )
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English
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Kroner, Oliver
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Climbing plants   ( lcsh )
Plants--Adaptation   ( lcsh )
Monteverde Biological Station (Costa Rica)   ( lcsh )
Plantas trepadoras
Plantas--Adaptación
Estación Biológica de Monteverde (Costa Rica)
Tropical Ecology Spring 2005
Ecología Tropical Primavera 2005
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Reports   ( lcsh )
Reports

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Abstract:
Metamorphosis in the plant family Araceae is generally considered only on a morphological basis, but clearly involves behavioral transitions as well. Many metamorphic climbing vines use skototropism as a method of host-location and then relinquish it before ascent. The reactions of eight individual Monstera to changes across vertical and horizontal light gradients were used to evaluate possible replacements for skototropism. Three possibilities were proposed: (1) climbing without preference (2) phototropism, (3) thigmotropism. Data were inconclusive, but strongly suggested the improbability of (2) and (3). Monstera encountered regions of increasing light intensity (lux) with increasing height, but did not demonstrate horizontal tendencies toward light. Monstera did show a significant preference for the southern quadrant, indicating the influence of abiotic factors.
Abstract:
La metamorfosis en la familia de plantas Araceae se considera generalmente sólo en una base morfológica, pero también implica claramente las transiciones de comportamiento. Muchas enredaderas metamórficas utilizan el escototropismo como un método para encontrar al anfitrión y lo dejan de utilizar antes de empezar a subir. Se utilizaron las reacciones de ocho individuos de Monstera a cambios en gradientes verticales y horizontales de luz para evaluar los reemplazos posibles para el escototropismo. Se propusieron tres posibilidades: (1) Ascender sin preferencia por la luz (2) Fototropismo, y (3) Tigmotropismo. Los datos no fueron decisivos, pero sugirieron muy enfáticamente la improbabilidad de (2) y (3). Los individuos de Monstera encontraron regiones con incrementos de intensidad de la luz (lux) conforme la elevación aumentaba, pero no mostraron tendencias horizontales hacia la luz. Monstera mostró una preferencia significativa hacia el cuadrante meridional, indicando la influencia de factores abióticos.
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Text in English.
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Born Digital

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usfldc doi - M39-00363
usfldc handle - m39.363
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1 Behavioral Transitions During Metamorphosis: Oliver Kroner Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Northeastern University, Boston, MA _____________________________________________________________ ABSTRACT Metamorphosis in the plant family Araceae is generally considered only on a morphological basis, but clearly involves behavioral transitions as well. Many metamorphic climbing vines use skototropism as a method of host location and then relinquish it before ascent. Th e reactions of eight individual Monstera to changes across vertical and horizontal light gradients were used to evaluate possible replacements for skototropism. Three possibilities were proposed: (1) climbing without preference (2) phototropism, (3) thigm otropism. Data were inconclusive, but strongly suggested the improbability of (2) and (3). Monstera encountered regions of increasing light intensity (lux) with increasing height, but did not demonstrate horizontal tendencies toward light. Monstera did show a significant preference for the southern quadrant, indicating the influence of abiotic factors. RESUMEN La metamorfosis en la familia de plantas Araceae se considera generalmente slo en una base morfolgica, pero tambin implica claramente las tra nsiciones de comportamiento. Muchas enredaderas metamrficas utilizan el escotrotropismo como un mtodo para encontrar al anfitrin y lo dejan de utilizar antes de empezar a subir. Se utilizaron las reacciones de ocho individuos de Monstera a cambios en gr adientes verticales y horizontales de luz para evaluar los reemplazos posibles para el escototropismo. Se propusieron tres posibilidades: (1) Ascender sin preferencia por la luz (2) Fototropismo, y (3) Tigmotropismo. Los datos no fueron decisivos, pero sug irieron muy enfticamente la improbabilidad de (2) y (3). Los individuos de Monstera encontraron regiones con incrementos de intensidad de la luz (lux) conforme la elevacin aumentaba, pero no mostraron tendencias horizontales hacia la luz. Monstera mostr una preferencia significativa hacia el cuadrante meridional, indicando la influencia de factores abiticos. INTRODUCTION Metamorphosis, an abrupt change in form or function during development, is a phenomenon generally associated with insects and amphib ians, but also pertains to some climbing plant species. Select hemiepiphytic genera of the Araceae family (e.g., Syngonium, Monstera, Philadendron, etc.) undergo multiple morphological and behavioral transformations during maturation. These climbers gra duate first from the forest floor to a host tree, and then to the forest canopy. There they exploit the structure of a mature tree, and thus allocate more energy to new tissue production (Rundel and Gibson 1996). This ascent forces the vine to acclimate t o changing microhabitats as it traverses new light, temperature, moisture and nutrient gradients with each stage of development (Oberbauer and Naoudali 1998).

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2 The aroid genus Monstera exhibits three ontogenetic morphologies during maturation: 1) a leafless skototropic seedling stage, 2) a whole leaved climbing stage, and 3) a flowering pinnatifid leaf stage. The morphological development of this genus has been well documented (Strong and Ray 1975; Ray 1990; Oberbauer and Naoudali 1998). The first task a se edling faces after germination is the procurement of a host. Monstera has adapted to grow toward the darkest sector of the horizon, a strategy employed to locate the largest silhouette producing tree in the near vicinity. This tendency toward darkness has araceae genera (Strong and Ray 1975). Upon arrival at the base of the host, seedlings will abandon skototropic behavior marks the beginning of the second morphological stage and the development of successively larger leaves. The tertiary morphology commences as the leaves become drastically lobed or Monstera con tinues to climb and Ray 1975; Ray 1983). Seeds are gravity dispersed, often falling en masse within several meters of the parent. This means that seedlings are then l ikely to share a host with the parent. The pinnatifid leaf form may be an adaptation to reduce parent offspring competition and self shading, allowing light to penetrate mature leaves and fall upon the developing offspring (Ray 1990). These distinct chan ges in form are apparent with observation, but the morphological changes of this metamorphosis are only half the story. Monstera metamorphosis consists of changes in both form and behavior but the behavioral conversion from skototropism to successive beh avior(s) has been ignored until now. This study will attempt to tell the other side of the story. It is apparent that Monstera relinquishes its skototropic tendencies upon locating a vertical surface, as climbing necessitates growth away from darkness (in most cases). The question is then what follows the initial skototropic stage of development? This study addresses three potential explanations: 1) Monstera begins to climb to the canopy following no specific light gradient. 2) Monstera converts to phot otropism and begins to grow toward light. 3) Monstera possesses an ingrained thigmonastic response to contact with an external stimulus. Thigmonasty is a thigmotropic, or stimuli induced reaction that occurs without regard to the direction of the source. For instance, some vines and lianas (e.g., genera of Cucurbitaceae, Passifloraceae, Vitaceae, etc.) have the trunk of the host. This growth strategy would ensure exposure to light and aid in securing the vine to the host (Jaffe and Galston 1968, in Rundel and Gibson 1996; Raven et al 1986). The answers to these questions have implications for our underst anding of the many tropical species that exhibit metamorphosis and skototropism (e.g., Syngonium, Rhodospatha, Philadendron, Pteromischum spp., etc.) and the behavioral development of Monstera is likely to represent that of other species. This study aims to tie together two

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3 METHODS Study Site The study was conducted at 1570 m in the secondary forest of the Estacin Biolgica de Monteverde (N 10 19.164, W 84 48.595) i n Costa Rica, between April 16 and May 8, 2005. The site is classified as Premontane Wet Forest (Holdrige Life Zone) and receives an average annual rainfall of 2.5 m with additional mist of .65 m (Nadkarni and Wheelwright 2000). Eight individual Monstera specimens were selected for analysis. Individuals displayed the pinnatifid leaf stage, and were terrestrially rooted. Additionally, the host tree stood erect, was not forked and did not possess buttresses or noticeable tapering. Host trees were flagged, numbered and divided into northern, southern, eastern and western quadrants. Diameter at Breast Height (dbh) was measured (cm) for each. The trunk of the tree was then divided into four vertical 50 cm segments (0 50 cm, 50 100 cm, 100 150 cm and 150 200 cm). Thus, a cylindrical grid was projected onto the Using a digital light meter, light intensities (lux range 4000 + 3% of reading) were recorded at each cardinal direction and at the location of the ste m for each height, three times a day (10:00, 12:00, 14:00) for six days. These data were used to determine average vertical and horizontal light gradients on the trunk of each host tree, in relation to Monstera position. The amount of horizontal movement made by each stem from one vertical segment to the next was recorded as Index of Horizontal Change (IHC). The Point of Departure was defined as the location at the bottom of a given vertical segment where the stem intersects the lower boundary, and the P oint of Destination was the location of intersection of the stem and upper limit of the given segment. Light intensities at Point of Departure and Point of Destination were compared with a paired T test. The IHC was then compared to the difference betwee n the light intensities of Point of Destination and Point of Destination quadrants using a simple regression analysis. Movement from one quadrant to another was considered to be (+) if the movement was from a quadrant of a lower average light intensity to a quadrant of higher average light intensity, and ( ) if vice versa. A Wilcoxon sign rank test was used to compare the times that stems moved toward a lighter quadrant. To test whether stem location at each height was random in relation to cardinal direct ion, a Chi squared test was used to compare the frequency of occurrence stems per quadrant (eight hosts and four horizontal quadrants yielded n = 32) RESULTS All but one of the individuals (Sign Test, (7,1) P = 0.05) exhibited cross quadrant movement within the first two meters of vertical growth, but the plants did not show a preference for clockwise or counter clockwise movement (Sign Test, (4,4) P = 0.05).

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4 However, Monstera did demonstrate a greater than expected preference for the southern quadran t. (Chi squared, 2 = 10.75; df=1; P < 0.05) (Figure 2). Average light intensity was greatest in the Northern quadrant, followed by Eastern, Western and Southern respectively. Mean light intensity increased with ascension up the trunk of the tree (Figure s 3 & 4). A paired T Test found average light levels at the Point of Departure to not significantly differ from those at the Point of Destination (t = 1.700; P = .0992 > 0.05). Nor were stems found to move toward quadrants of greater light intensity (Si gn Test, (17,15) P= 0.05). Indices of Horizontal Change were compared to light differences between adjacent quadrants of the Point of Destination using a simple regression analysis and found to be not significant (Figure 5). DISCUSSION The experiment was designed to gain insight into the behavioral transitions Monstera undergoes during Metamorphosis. Three hypotheses were tested; (1) Monstera climbs randomly with respect to light gradients, (2) Monstera converts to phototropism, and (3) Monstera use s/shows thigmonastic responses after contact with a host. When clockwise versus counter clockwise trends were considered, Monstera movement proved random, with about half moving in each direction. Individual plants on two occasions actually showed both c lockwise and counter clockwise movement within the first two meters of growth. This lack of a clear tendency offers strong evidence against thigmonasty, in which case directional movement would be uniform. The potential for phototropism was examined on b oth vertical and horizontal planes, with clear light trends observed for each. Vertically, average light intensities show a general increase with height, while horizontal average were greatest in the northern quadrant, followed by eastern, western and sout hern quadrants respectively (Figure 3 & 4). Plants were shown to move toward light on a vertical plane with simple climbing Granted this is a vertical movement toward greater light intensities, to qualify as phototropic a plant must exhibit movement towa rd the area of greatest light intensity on both horizontal and vertical planes. When direction of horizontal stem movement was compared to direction of greatest light intensity no trend was shown. Thus, Monstera did not show a significant tendency toward l ight on a horizontal plane, making hypothesis (2) an unlikely candidate. Figure 6 compares average light intensity at Point of Departure and Point of Destination. An average increase from 157.7 to 179.2 lux was observed. These results were not signific ant, but this is likely due to the relatively large standard deviations (97.6 and 104.6) incurred due to large daily fluctuations in light intensity and availability. This study was conducted during April and May, when the Sun is to the north of Costa Ric a. Comparison of these findings with yearly light availability would yield higher precision. Interestingly, Monstera demonstrated a significant preference for the southern quadrant (Figure 2). This is interesting for two reasons. Firstly, it suggests an abiotic influence. Perhaps yearly light availability is highest in the south? Possibly these

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5 specific individuals underwent their first stages of growth during similar conditions. Other factors such as wind, or competition may have played a crucial rol e in this uneven distribution. Secondly, this preference for the southern quadrant is interesting when Figure 2 and Figure 3 are compared. The south is curiously the quadrant of lowest light intensity, and the north where there is a paucity of Monstera light is most intense. An interesting trend, but was shown to be insignificant when a Spearman rank correlation was ran to compare preference with light intensity at each corresponding height ( 2 = 2.25; df = 1; P < 0.05). Evidence strongly indicates the improbability of hypothesis (2) and (3), while supporting hypothesis (1). However, all but one of the Monstera specimens exhibited cross quadrant movement during the first 2 m of growth, indicating the influence of abiotic factors. That movement did not correspond to changes in light, but other influences (e.g., wind, nutrient availability, competition, etc.) were not examined. As is the nature of science, these few answers have done more to generate new questions than to satisfy the originals. Yearly an d multi yearly data will paint a much more vivid picture as to the true light distributions these vines experience. The magnitude of this experiment could increase not only in respect to time, but also to sample size, subject species, and vertical and ho rizontal scale. Mapping of the climb to the canopy will surely shed much light on behavioral tendencies. n which they perceive light, may be of crucial importance in the study of tropic behaviors. In order to accurately measure light gradients in respect to plant behavior, we must understand a Calculation of growth rate s during each morphological stage will allow for estimation of plant age and age of exposure to these various conditions. It is likely that the factors influencing Monstera Wind intensity is likely to pla y an increasingly important role as the plant matures and produces larger leaves that project out from the tree. It is most likely that different abiotic factors having varying degrees of impact during each morphological stage. Quantifying the changing en vironmental conditions of each microhabitat will be the first step to understanding the relative impact of each during the development of metamorphic plants. These data offer the beginnings light quantification and will be strongly complemented with addi tional information. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Thanks to Karen Masters for her statistical omniscience and help with experiment design, to Ollie Hyman & Matt Gasner for their help working out the many kinks, to Lyndsey Parsons for her careful editing, to Familia Arguedas Cruz for their love and concern and to everyone who played Burn, which kept me sane through this arduous endeavor.

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6 LITERATURE CITED J AFFE M.J. AND A. W. G ALSTON ,. 1968. The physiology if tendrils. Annual Review of Plant Physiology 19: 417 434. as cited in Rundel, P. W. and A. C. Gibson. 1996. Adaptive Strategies of Growth Form and Physiological Ecology in Neotropical Lowland Rainforest Plants. In Neotropical Biodiversity and Conservation. Ch. 3. Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden, U niversity of California, Los Angeles, California. N ADKARNI N. M. AND N. T. W HEELWRIGHT 2000. Monteverde Ecology and Conservation of a Tropical Cloud Forest. Oxford University Press, New York, New York. O BERBAUER S. F., AND M. N OUDALI 1998. Potentia l Carbon Gain of Shingle Leaves in Juveniles of the Vine Monstera tenuis (Araceae) in Costa Rica. Am. J. of Bot. 77(12): 1599 1609. R AVEN P. H., R. F. E VERT AND S. E. E ICHHORN 1986. Biology of Plants. Fourth Edition. Worth Publishers, Inc. New York, N ew York. R AY T.S. 1983. Monstera tenuis In Costa Rican Natural History. Edited by Janzen, D. H. pp. 45 48. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, Illinois. R AY T. S. 1990. Metamorphosis in the Araceae. Am. J. of Bot. 77(12): 1599 1609. R UNDEL P. W. AND A. C. G IBSON 1996. Adaptive Strategies of Growth Form and Physiological Ecology in Neotropical Lowland Rainforest Plants. In Neotropical Biodiversity and Conservation. Ch. 3. Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden, University of California, Los Ang eles, California. S TRONG D. R., AND T. S. R AY 1975. Host Tree Location Behavior of a Tropical Vine ( Monstera gigantean ) by Skototropism. Science 190: 804 806.

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7 Figures Northern Eastern Western Southern N orthern Eastern Western Southern Northern Eastern Western Southern Northern Eastern Western Southern 200 cm 150 cm 100 cm 50 cm Figure 1. Each host was divided vertically into 50 cm segments, and horizontally into Northern, Eastern, Southern, and Western quadrants. Light measurements were recorded where vertical and horizontal divisions i ntersected, and also where the Monstera stem was located at each vertical plane.

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8 Figure 2. The location of vertical Monstera segments (50 cm) in relation to cardinal direction shows a significant preference for the southern quadrant. The graph does not include the first vertical segment (0 50 cm) as this location was more or less assigned a nd does not demonstrate a choice on the part of the plant. ( 2 =10.75 > critical value= 3.84, n = 32). Figure 3. Light intensity (lux) was recorded across vertical (0 200 cm) and horizontal gradients (North, East, West, and South). Average intensity was greatest in the North, followed by East, West and South, respectively. Average light intensity increased with increasing height.

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9 Figure 5. A regression analysis comparing Index of Horizontal Change (horizontal distance from Point of Departure to Point of Destination) to the light differences between their corresponding quadrants found the two to be unrelated. Thus, Monstera did not show a noticeable reaction to increases in light differences. R2 = 0.006, P = 0.0001, n = 32. Figure 4. Average light inte nsities varied on horizontal and vertical gradients. Intensity increased with height from 50 cm to 200 cm, and was greatest in the northern quadrant followed by eastern, western and southern respectively. Height North East South West Light Intensity (lux)

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10 Figure 6. Average light intensity at each Point of Departure was compared to average light intensity at each corresponding Point of Destination. Light intensity was not found to vary significantly from the Point of Departure to the Point of Destination. Movement from one vertical gradient to the next thus did not yield a significant increase in light. Mean Point of Departure and Destination light intensities + 1 S.E. are portrayed above(157.7 + 17.25 and 179.2 + 18.49 lux respectively). Note the large standard error (17.254, 18.496). n = 32, t Value = 1.700, p value = 0.0992 > 0.05


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Transiciones de comportamiento durante la metamorfosis: Los sucesores de escototropismo
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Behavioral transitions during metamorphosis: Skototropisms successors
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Metamorphosis in the plant family Araceae is generally considered only on a morphological basis, but clearly involves behavioral transitions as well. Many metamorphic climbing vines use skototropism as a
method of host-location and then relinquish it before ascent. The reactions of eight individual Monstera to changes across vertical and horizontal light gradients were used to evaluate possible replacements for
skototropism. Three possibilities were proposed: (1) climbing without preference (2) phototropism, (3) thigmotropism. Data were inconclusive, but strongly suggested the improbability of (2) and (3). Monstera
encountered regions of increasing light intensity (lux) with increasing height, but did not demonstrate horizontal tendencies toward light. Monstera did show a significant preference for the southern quadrant, indicating the influence of abiotic factors.
La metamorfosis en la familia de plantas Araceae se considera generalmente slo en una base morfolgica, pero tambin implica claramente las transiciones de comportamiento. Muchas enredaderas metamrficas utilizan el escototropismo como un mtodo para encontrar al anfitrin y lo dejan de utilizar antes de empezar a subir. Se utilizaron las reacciones de ocho individuos de Monstera a cambios en gradientes verticales y horizontales de luz para evaluar los reemplazos posibles para el escototropismo. Se propusieron tres posibilidades: (1) Ascender sin preferencia por la luz (2) Fototropismo, y (3) Tigmotropismo. Los datos no fueron decisivos, pero sugirieron muy enfticamente la improbabilidad de (2) y (3). Los individuos de Monstera encontraron regiones con incrementos de intensidad de la luz (lux) conforme la elevacin aumentaba, pero no mostraron tendencias horizontales hacia la luz. Monstera mostr una preferencia significativa hacia el cuadrante meridional, indicando la influencia de factores abiticos.
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Monteverde Biological Station (Costa Rica)
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Plantas--Adaptacin
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