A Century Of Wood Anatomy and 75 Years Of IAWA
Barnett, John R .
Understanding the vascular cambium and wood formation - what difference have seventy five years made?
THE remarkable range of interspecies variability in structure, size, abundance and distribution of a few basic wood cell types is familiar to wood anatomists. Their anatomical descriptions record the effects of genetically and environmentally controlled differences in cambial activity and wood formation processes. In 1931, the study of the vascular cambium was the precinct of a relatively few academic botanists. Recognition in recent years by the forest and timber industries of the connection between wood formation processes and timber properties, however, has led to an upsurge in the numbers of researchers working on the mechanisms involved in control of cambial differentiation. At the time of the founding of the International Association of Wood Anatomists, light microscopy was the main technique available for study of the cambium. This was the same technique, albeit in a more primitive form, that was used by Nehemiah Grew in 1682 when he applied the term cambium to the layer lying between bark and wood. The last seventy five years has seen the introduction and application of more advanced microscopical techniques, notably electron microscopy and latterly scanning confocal microscopy. The role of growth regulators continues to be elucidated with recent reliable quantitative measurements in the cambium being made. The science of dendrochronology has developed and enabled attempts at predicting cambial activity under different environmental conditions. In the last few years, the application of genomics has also begun to make an important contribution to understanding wood formation. The contribution of these techniques is summarised and an assessment attempted of how far they have advanced our understanding of the processes involved.
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1 - The University of Reading, School of Biological Sciences, Plant Science Laboratories, Whiteknights, Reading, Berkshire, RG6 6AS, United Kingdom
Presentation Type: Symposium or Colloquium Presentation
Date: Tuesday, August 1st, 2006
Time: 2:00 PM