Harvard University Division of Engineering and Applied Sciences Kavli Institute School of Engineering and Applied Sciences Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology Harvard University
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Botanical Movements

Rapid movements in plants and fungi (which share the important feature of a cell wall that allows the cells to sustain pressures of upto 10 atm.) though rare, are essential for a variety of functions such as defense, pollination, nutrition and seed and spore dispersal. The diversity of these movements which range from explosive failure of seed pods to rapid swelling of cells begs the questions: Are there physical limits to the speed of movements ? Are there any design principles to be gleaned from these examples ? We think so.

Image courtesy of E SkotheimRelated Article

Physical limits and design principles for plant and fungal movements,
J. Skotheim and L. Mahadevan, Science, 308, 1308-10, 2005. Click here for PDF version of article.

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   Last Updated: January 31, 2018

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