Preface / G.A.F. Hendry and J.P. Grime -- 1. Introduction / G.A.F. Hendry and J.P. Grime. 1.1. The need for comparative laboratory studies. 1.2. How to use the manual. 1.3. Abbreviations -- 2. General procedures and methodologies. 2.1. Seed collecting, cleaning and long-term storage / S.R. Band and G.A.F. Hendry. 2.2. Seed viability and germination / R.E. Booth and G.A.F. Hendry. 2.3. The ISP aerial environment: lighting, day length, temperature and humidity / R. Hunt. 2.4. ISP germination and rooting environments; sand, compost and solution culture / R.E. Booth, J.M.L. Mackey, I.H. Rorison, R.E. Spencer, P.L. Gupta and R. Hunt. 2.5. Harvesting, recording weight, area and length / J.M.L. Mackey and A.M. Neal. 2.6. Photographic recording / G. Woods. 2.7. The ISP standard regime / R. Hunt and J.M.L. Mackey -- 3. Methods of comparative study. Anatomy. 3.1. Aerenchyma, intercellular gas space and aeration / W. Armstrong. 3.2. Functional plant anatomy / J.G. Hodgson, R.E. Booth and P. Gaitens. DNA. 3.3. Chromosome number / S.R. Band and J.G. Hodgson. 3.4. Nuclear DNA amount / J.P. Grime, S.R. Band and M.A. Mowforth. Environmental impacts. 3.5. Anoxia tolerance in germinating seeds, rhizomes, stolons and tubers / R.M.M. Crawford. 3.6. Response to defoliation / C.C. Bossard and S.H. Hillier. 3.7. Desiccation tolerance / O. Leprince. 3.8. Drought tolerance / G.A.F. Hendry. 3.9. Effect of high temperatures on protein synthesis / C.J. Howarth. 3.1. Herbicide selectivity / A.J. Willis. 3.11. Plant responses to low temperatures / P.C. Thorpe, G.A.F. Hendry and M.V. Duran. 3.12. Ozone sensitivity / K. Reiling and A.W. Davison. 3.13. Sulphur dioxide pollution / T.W. Ashenden. 3.14. Sunfleck utilization / R.W. Pearcy. 3.15. Ultra-violet (UV-B) radiation / G.A.F. Hendry. Growth. 3.16. Adventitious rooting of cuttings / J.G. Hodgson, A.M.K. Pearce and R.E. Booth. 3.17. Carbon budget / J.F. Farrar. 3.18. Day length responses / J.P. Grime and R.E. Booth. 3.19. Establishment in a vertical light gradient / J.P. Grime and J.M.L. Mackey. 3.20. Foraging for light / B.D. Campbell, J.P. Grime and J.M.L. Mackey. 3.21. Foraging for mineral nutrients / J.P. Grime, B.D. Campbell and J.M.L. Mackey. 3.22. Fresh weight/dry weight and related ratios / J.G. Hodgson and R.E. Booth. 3.23. Constant temperature and shade / R. Hunt and A.M. Neal. 3.24. Fluctuating temperature and drought / R. Hunt and A.M. Neal. 3.25. Mean relative growth rate / R. Hunt, A.M. Neal, J. Laffarga, G. Montserrat-Marti, A. Stockey and J. Whitehouse. 3.26. Response to carbon dioxide enrichment / R. Hunt, D.W. Hand, M.A. Hannah and A. Neal. 3.27. Variation in RGR underlying carbon economy / H. Poorter and R.A.M. Welschen. Leaves. 3.28. Decomposition / J.M. Anderson. 3.29. Defence chemistry / G.A.F. Hendry. 3.30. Longevity / J.G. Hodgson and R.E. Booth. 3.31. Palatability / J.P. Grime, S.F. MacPherson-Stewart and R.S. Dearman. 3.32. Tearability / J.P. Grime, J.E.L. Cooper and D.E. Tasker. Metabolism. 3.33. Calculation of specific activities of enzymes / G.A.F. Hendry. 3.34. Carbon isotope discrimination and water use efficiency / J.M. Welker. 3.35. Nitrate reductase activity / G.R. Stewart. 3.36. Acid phosphatases / G.A.F. Hendry and P.C. Thorpe. 3.37. Photosynthesis and chlorophyll fluorescence: simultaneous measurements / J.D. Scholes and P. Horton. 3.38. Photosynthesis and respiration: use of O[subscript 2] electrodes / D.A. Walker and R.C. Leegood. 3.39. Respiration: the alternative pathway / H. Lambers, A. van der Werf and M. Bergkotte. 3.40. Respiration: cytochrome c oxidase activity / G.A.F. Hendry. 3.41. Storage carbohydrates / G.A.F. Hendry, K.J. Brocklebank and P.C. Thorpe. 3.42. Stress indicators: chlorophylls and carotenoids / G.A.F. Hendry and A.H. Price. 3.43. Stress indicators: electrolyte leakage / M.J. Earnshaw. 3.44. Stress indicators: lipid peroxidation / G.A.F. Hendry, P.C. Thorpe and M.N. Merzlyak. Mineral nutrients. 3.45. Chemical analysis / I.H. Rorison, R.E. Spencer and P.L. Gupta. 3.46. Uptake and yield / I.H. Rorison, R.E. Spencer and P.L. Gupta. Roots. 3.47. Architectural analyses / A.H. Fitter. 3.48. Mycorrhizal infection: assessment and quantification / J.R. Leake and D.J. Read. 3.49. Penetration and response to drought / R.J. Reader, A. Jalili, J.P. Grime, R.E. Spencer and N. Matthews. Seeds. 3.50. Buoyancy in air / K. Thompson. 3.51. Defence chemistry (cyanide) / G.A.F. Hendry. 3.52. Defence chemistry (phenols) / G.A.F. Hendry. 3.53. Dormancy breaking / K. Thompson and R.E. Booth. 3.54. Germination at alternating temperatures / K. Thompson. 3.55. Germination at a range of constant temperatures / K. Thompson and S.R. Band. 3.56. Germination and the high irradiance reaction / C.A. Thanos. 3.57. Germination and soil water potential / J.R. Etherington. 3.58. Mineral nutrient content / K. Thompson. 3.59. Morphology and colour / K. Thompson. 3.60. Organic reserves / G.A.F. Hendry and P.C. Thorpe. 3.61. Persistence in soil / K. Thompson. 3.62. Size / J.G. Hodgson and K. Thompson. Shoots. 3.63. Architecture and vigour / J.M.L. Mackey, J.P. Grime and B.D. Campbell. Toxicity. 3.64. Aluminium / I.H. Rorison, R.E. Spencer and P.L. Gupta. 3.65. Cadmium sensitivity and constitutive resistance / A.J.M. Baker. 3.66. Iron / R.E.D. Snowden (nee Cook) and B.D. Wheeler. 3.67. Sulphide / B. Sellars and B.D. Wheeler. 3.68. Variability in seed storage proteins / E.A. Warman -- 4. Quantitative synthesis / R. Hunt and C.C. Bossard -- 5. Epilogue: the future development of comparative methodologies / J.P. Grime and G.A.F. Hendry. The problem. The search for an answer.