Mentor: Stephen D. Davis
In recent years, experts in plant physiology have begun to explore the functional traits of ferns, especially in regards to their tissue-water relations. However, to our knowledge, no scientist had yet examined the relationship between fern biomechanics and physiology. We examined the mechanical properties of fern stipes (stems) and attempted to relate those properties to ecological and physiological traits. Based on our knowledge of fern anatomy, we hypothesized that stipe mechanical strength would not correlate with cavitation resistance as it does in seed-bearing plants. This assertion that mechanical strength will not relate to cavitation resistance begs the question of what it does relate to. Therefore, we attempted to characterize the variation in the mechanical strength of fern species by examining the microclimate and ecological niche of each species.
Holmlund, Helen I., "Variation in Mechanical Strength of Ferns in the Santa Monica and Santa Cruz Mountains" (2013). Pepperdine University, Featured Research. Paper 63.