Faculty Mentor

Ava Howard




Trichomes are hair-like structures that extend from a plant’s surface and help protect the plant from herbivores and excessive water loss. Studying trichome density and distribution can provide insight to a plant’s response to drought stress and herbivore damage. We studied the trichome density of up to 20 leaves from each of 47 mature Quercus garryana (Oregon’s native oak tree). Trees were located in one of three habitat types: oak savannah, oak woodland, and mixed oak-maple-conifer forest. Preliminary results show bundles of four and two trichome clusters were present in higher amounts than bundles of three and single trichomes on the abaxial (lower) leaf surface in the savannah and forest habitat. A lower trichome density was observed on the adaxial (top) versus abaxial (lower) leaf surfaces. Our early results support the conclusion that trichome anatomy is highly variable between Q. garryana trees and may help to explain tree survival in different habitats.






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