Monday 20 September; Leiden, Eleni Katifori 'Design principles in the plant kingdom: Loopy network topology and leaf vein architecture'



Extra Physics Colloquium
Eleni Katifori - Center for Studies in Physics & Biology - Rockefeller University – NY

Location: HL 207

Time: 10:00 hrs - 11:00 hrs


Leaf venation is a pervasive example of a complex biological transport network that is necessary for the survival of land plants and thought to be highly optimized. The architecture of the leaf vascular networks is dominated by loops - yet, distribution networks optimized for efficiency have been shown to be loopless. We consider possible reasons for the emergence of loops in biological transport networks and study optimizing functionals that can account for their ubiquity. We show that loops can emerge both as a result of robustness to damage and fluctuations in the load, each with a unique signature in the network architecture. We sketch the development of a mathematical framework that is suitable to characterize planar redundant networks, dominated by (hierarchically nested) loops. Finally, we examine the metric topology and transport properties of the resulting optimized networks and compare them with an exemplar of their real life counterparts, lemon leaves.