, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 131-149

Dynamics of coupled stomatal oscillators

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Stomata are microscopic openings in the leaves of green plants which permit gas exchange. Stomata exhibit oscillatory opening and closing behavior under certain environmental conditions in addition to a daily (diurnal) cycle. In order to explore the effects of coupling between neighboring stomata we present a mathematical model of the dynamics of a system of N coupled stomatal oscillators. An individual stomate is modeled to either remain closed, oscillate periodically, or remain open, depending on the local water potential. Coupling between neighboring stomata is accomplished in the model by taking into account the flow of water in the leaf as well as by oscillator phase coupling.

Analysis of the model shows that under certain conditions it exhibits a stable spatially uniform synchronized behavior, referred to here as the in-phase mode. It is also shown that under non-uniform illumination the system may behave in a more complicated fashion.