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Open AccessArticle

Variation in Fractal Symmetry of Annual Growth in Aspen as an Indicator of Developmental Stability in Trees

1
Department of Biological Sciences, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI 48208, USA
2
US Geological Survey, Flagstaff, AZ 86011, USA
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: John H. Graham
Symmetry 2015, 7(2), 354-364; https://doi.org/10.3390/sym7020354
Received: 5 February 2015 / Revised: 17 March 2015 / Accepted: 1 April 2015 / Published: 9 April 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fluctuating Asymmetry)
Fractal symmetry is symmetry across scale. If one looks at a branch of a tree its branching pattern is reminiscent of the tree as a whole. Plants exhibit a number of different symmetries, including bilateral, rotational, translational, and fractal; deviations from each of these types has been associated with organisms developing in stressful environments. Here, we explore the utilization and meaning of fractal analysis on annual growth ring production in woody plants. Early detection of stress in plants is difficult and the compounding effects of multiple or severe stressors can lead to irreversible damage or death. Annual wood production was used to produce a time series for individuals from stands classified as either high vigor or low vigor (a general measure of health). As a measure of symmetry over time, the fractal dimension of each time series was determined and compared among vigor classes. We found that individuals obtained from low vigor sites had a significantly lower fractal dimension than those from high vigor sites. These results agree with patterns found in a variety of other organisms, and we argue that the reduced fractal dimension is related to a loss in system complexity of stressed individuals. View Full-Text
Keywords: dendrochronology; fractal patterns; developmental instability; physiological response; plant stress; symmetry of scale dendrochronology; fractal patterns; developmental instability; physiological response; plant stress; symmetry of scale
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MDPI and ACS Style

Sinclair, J.P.; Kashian, D.M.; Bradford, J.B.; Freeman, D.C. Variation in Fractal Symmetry of Annual Growth in Aspen as an Indicator of Developmental Stability in Trees. Symmetry 2015, 7, 354-364. https://doi.org/10.3390/sym7020354

AMA Style

Sinclair JP, Kashian DM, Bradford JB, Freeman DC. Variation in Fractal Symmetry of Annual Growth in Aspen as an Indicator of Developmental Stability in Trees. Symmetry. 2015; 7(2):354-364. https://doi.org/10.3390/sym7020354

Chicago/Turabian Style

Sinclair, Jordan P.; Kashian, Daniel M.; Bradford, John B.; Freeman, D. C. 2015. "Variation in Fractal Symmetry of Annual Growth in Aspen as an Indicator of Developmental Stability in Trees" Symmetry 7, no. 2: 354-364. https://doi.org/10.3390/sym7020354

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