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The relationship between plant growth and water consumption : A history from Greek philosophers to early 20th century scientists.

Brendel, Oliver (2020) The relationship between plant growth and water consumption : A history from Greek philosophers to early 20th century scientists. [Preprint]

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Abstract

Context : The relationship between plant growth and water consumption has for a long time occupied the minds of philosophers and natural scientists. The ratio between biomass accumulation and water consumption is known as water use efficiency and is widely relevant today in fields as diverse as crop improvement, forest ecology and climate change. Defined at scales varying from single leaf physiology to whole plants, it shows how botanical investigations changed through time, generally in tandem with developing disciplines and improving methods. The history started as a purely philosophical question by Greek philosophers of how plants grow, progressed through thought and actual experiments, towards an interest in plant functioning and their relationship to the environment.
Aims : This article retraces this history by elucidating the progression of scientific questions posed through the centuries, presents the main methodological and conceptual developments.
Conclusion : Research on water use efficiency followed a path from the whole plant to molecular mechanisms and is still a very active research field across nearly all levels of botanical research.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Brendel, Oliveroliver.brendel@inrae.fr0000-0003-3252-0273
Keywords: Transpiration efficiency; water use efficiency; plant physiology; botanical history
Subjects: General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
General Issues > History of Science Case Studies
Depositing User: Oliver Brendel
Date Deposited: 17 Feb 2021 01:43
Last Modified: 17 Feb 2021 01:43
Item ID: 18714
Subjects: General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
General Issues > History of Science Case Studies
Date: 30 November 2020
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/18714

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