Figure 1 A tree branching as it grows

In nature trees branch to extend their leaf coverage in its quest for greater absorption of light for photosynthesis, energy and further growth.

In the Blind Watchmaker System, we have researched the theory of tropism and phototropism is growth towards a light stimulus, facilitated greatly by the action of branching.

Our theorised ‘stresstropism’ suggests that through thickening of cells where stress concentrations are high, the organism becomes a more efficient load carrying structure over the same length.

What effect does branching have on load carrying?

Figure 2 Without branching: ‘Stresstropism’ triggered causing root thickening

Initial investigations suggest that branching offers more load carrying capacity along the same organism length, reducing the need or effects of ‘stresstropism’, i.e. cell thickening at the root and therefore overall mass of the organism.

Figure 3: With branchng: No ‘stresstropism’ triggered.