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Biomechanics of plants



Growth form biodiversity

There are many different plant growth forms on the planet including herbs, trees, vines, lianas, epiphytes and aquatics. Different growth forms have different physical and mechanical constraints, for example self-supporting trees and shrubs need quite different biomechanical organisations than the vines, lianas and epiphytes that grow on them.

Our main objectives are to understand how different plant growth forms have evolved such a bewildering array of biomechanical structures and strategies. We wish to discover how these traits have adapted in wide ranging habitats and by many different plant groups from mosses to flowering plants.

Our research focuses mainly on tropical plant diversity particularly in South America, Madagascar and South East Asia. However, another part of our research is based on plants from the fossil record. Combining our studies on the biomechanics of both living and extinct plants is a powerful way of understanding how the world's plant diversity has evolved and how it changes.

Our studies are based on field work using a range of techniques and measuring devices as well as detailed analyses back in the AMAP biomechanics lab here at Montpellier in the South of France.