A Novel Anatomical Approach to Complement Morphological and Ecological Methods for the Identification of Some Important Coastal Graminoids


Anubhav Thapaliya

Additional Authors:

Hee So, Sarah Fones, Sarah McCrimmon, Mia Wyche, Joseph Battistelli, and Sierra Beecher


June – 2023


C4 photosynthesis, dune building, leaf anatomy, salt marsh grass, vascular bundle

We present anatomical imaging techniques and measurements that are useful additions to the existing morphological toolbox for the identification of seven coastal grasses and one rush. Our method is simple and inexpensive and requires the removal of only one leaf, which prevents removal of plants from their habitats. This method can also be used in seasons when reproductive structures (important for current morphological ID efforts) are not present. We find significant quantitative differences in leaf width, adaxial to abaxial ratios (ADAB ratio, which we introduce as a new parameter), vascular bundle cross-sectional areas, and interveinal distances, as well as providing images for qualitative analysis of these plants’ anatomies; including differences in bundle sheath structures, fiber distributions, epidermal and cuticular properties, and chloroplast positioning.