Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Meriel Melendrez L&S Sciences

Stomatal variations with height in remarkably tall trees, Sequoia sempervirens

Coast Redwoods can grow over three hundred and fifty feet tall—well overtopping Sather Tower’s three hundred and seven. An individual Redwood might live in multiple above-ground micro-climates that can be especially noticeable on a sunny day: from low, perhaps shady to dry, hot, dizzyingly high-up. Macro-morphological features of their leaves (e.g. surface area and connection to the stem) have been demonstrated to correlate with such great height, suggesting that variable leaf structures work together with towering stature. What the stomata, pores, are up to meanwhile has yet to be as well documented in the literature. Some stomatal changes may be observable at everyday scales as congregate stripes along one or both surfaces of the leaf. Other features, such as the occurrence densities of the pores, become noticeable with cuticle microscopy. A razor and needle are just small enough to unfold the waxy layer to make slides. A panorama that is detailed enough for spatial analysis methods can consist of dozens of scope photos. Quantifying stomatal variations may contribute towards understanding what a tree who is taller than The Campanile is doing on sunny days when its leaves all want sips of water, pulling up from the Earth.

Message To Sponsor

The SURF fellowship is helping me afford taking on a time-intensive study as an honors thesis for my major. I break up my hours conducting research indoors with laps in the pool or climbing trees in the neighborhood. I don’t mind the fog. I want to thank my donor for supporting this experience.
Major: Integrative Biology
Mentor: Cindy Looy, Integrative Biology
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