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Abstract Detail



Reproductive Processes

Klahs, Phillip [1], Hsu, Ming-Chen [2], Herrema, Austin [2], Clark, Lynn [1].

A Quantitative Assessment of Floral Aerodynamics in the Wind Pollinated Grass Panicum virgatum (Poaceae: Panicoideae).

While the evolutionary history of flowering plants is closely tied to animal pollinators, anemophilous angiosperms have foregone this dependence to disperse pollen via air currents. The grass family (Poaceae) is the largest plant family to employ anemophily as a primary means of sexual reproduction. The unique inflorescences of grasses are composed of subunits known as spikelets, and both inflorescences and spikelets exhibit forms arguably well adapted to the function of wind pollination. To quantify interactions between the morphological architecture of spikelets and the fluid dynamics of air, potentially carrying pollen, a 3D model of a grass spikelet was created using computer assisted design (CAD) software and placed in a virtual wind tunnel. Panicum virgatum was chosen as the first species to model. The spikelets of Panicum virgatum are arranged in a diffuse panicle, and contain the standard bracts associated with the grass flower (lower glume, upper glume, lemma and palea). Simulations of fluid flow dynamics over the surface of the Panicum spikelet revealed regions of differential pressures associated with the placements of stigmas. Efficiency of pollen entrapment was analyzed using Lagrangian specification methods. In order to address phylogenetic questions of spikelet evolution additional species of grasses, including examples with awns or multiple florets, will be modelled using these methods in the future. Additional aerodynamic simulations and morphometric comparisons among species will permit questions about the biomechanical properties and ecological success of the grass family.


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1 - Iowa State University, Department Of Ecology, Evolution, And Organismal Biology, 251 Bessey Hall, Ames, IA, 50011-1020, USA
2 - Iowa State University, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Ames, IA, 50011, United States

Keywords:
Poaceae
Panicum
pollination
3D Modelling.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Number: 30003
Abstract ID:101
Candidate for Awards:None


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