Date of Award

Spring 2019

Document Type

Poster Session

Department

Environmental Science

Second Advisor

Joseph Staples PhD

Keywords

American beech tree, Fagus grandifolia Ehrh, leaf size, technology

Abstract

The American beech (Fagus grandifolia Ehrh) is a deciduous species that occurs throughout the eastern United States and Southeast Canada. This species grows 20–35 meters in height and is tolerant of a range of environmental conditions. Because beech occurs over a wide geographical and ecological range, it is ideal for comparative studies between sites or environmental conditions. Here we report on the relative size of beech leaves collected from different heights above the forest floor. We then determine if morphological trends between upper and lower canopy were consistent between live fall leaves and senesced mid-winter leaves that remain attached to the branches. Leaf area was analyzed from digital images using ImageJ software, multiple smartphone apps, and directly using handheld laser leaf area meter. The objectives for this study were two-fold; 1) to determine if the vertical size distribution of beech leaves remained consistent between live fall leaves and remaining senesced winter leaves, 2) to assess different methods and technologies of measuring leaf area for research and educational purposes.

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