Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Testing for functional convergence of temperate rainforest tree assemblages in Chile and New Zealand
Lusk, C.H. ; Jimenez-Castillo, M. ; Aragón, R. ; Easdale, T.A. ; Poorter, L. ; Hinojosa, L.F. ; Mason, N.W.H.W.H. - \ 2016
New Zealand Journal of Botany 54 (2016)2. - ISSN 0028-825X - p. 175 - 203.
Bioclimatic matching - environmental filtering - functional trait convergence - leaf dry matter content - leaf economics - leaf habit - leaf size - pollination syndrome - seed mass - wood density

An important tenet of biogeography and comparative ecology is that disjunct assemblages in similar physical environments are functionally more similar to each other than to assemblages from other environments. Temperate rainforests in South America, New Zealand and Australia share certain physiognomic similarities, but we are not aware of any statistical evidence that these disjunct plant assemblages share a distinctive suite of functional traits, or trait combinations. We compiled height, leaf, wood and reproductive traits from the 25 commonest arborescent species at Chilean and New Zealand sites matched for summer rainfall, summer maximum temperatures, and winter minimum temperatures. We then used multivariate tests of trait convergence. Tropical and subtropical assemblages served as out-groups. PERMANOVA showed convergence of trait centroids at the two temperate sites, where trees on average had denser wood and smaller leaves than trees at the (sub)tropical sites. Principal components analyses carried out separately on each assemblage showed that the Chilean and New Zealand assemblages were also the most similar pair in terms of trait relationships, although New Zealand also shared strong similarities with subtropical Argentina. The main axis of variation in both temperate assemblages ranged from small, short-lived understorey trees with soft leaves, to emergents with sclerophyllous leaves and fairly dense wood. However, the New Zealand assemblage was much richer in small trees with soft leaves than its Chilean counterpart; possible historical influences on this difference include conditions favouring radiation of small trees during the late Neogene in New Zealand, competition from Chusquea bamboos in Chile and the historical absence of browsing mammals from New Zealand. Environmental filtering has produced similar values of individual traits in Chile and New Zealand, but only partial convergence of functional trait combinations. As far as we know, this is the first study to statistically test whether disjunct tree assemblages on climatically matched sites are more functionally similar to each other than to assemblages from other environments.

Are functional traits good predictors of demographic rates? Evidence from five neotropical forests
Poorter, L. ; Paz, H. ; Wright, S.J. ; Ackerly, D.D. ; Condit, R. ; Ibarra-Manríquez, G. ; Harms, K.E. ; Licona, J.C. ; Martínez-Ramos, M. ; Mazer, S.J. ; Muller-Landau, H.C. ; Peña-Claros, M. ; Webb, C.O. ; Wright, I.J. - \ 2008
Ecology 89 (2008)7. - ISSN 0012-9658 - p. 1908 - 1920.
tropical rain-forest - mixed dipterocarp forest - seed mass - wood density - los-tuxtlas - leaf traits - photosynthetic traits - relative importance - pioneer trees - plant traits
A central goal of comparative plant ecology is to understand how functional traits vary among species and to what extent this variation has adaptive value. Here we evaluate relationships between four functional traits (seed volume, specific leaf area, wood density, and adult stature) and two demographic attributes (diameter growth and tree mortality) for large trees of 240 tree species from five Neotropical forests. We evaluate how these key functional traits are related to survival and growth and whether similar relationships between traits and demography hold across different tropical forests. There was a tendency for a trade-off between growth and survival across rain forest tree species. Wood density, seed volume, and adult stature were significant predictors of growth and/or mortality. Both growth and mortality rates declined with an increase in wood density. This is consistent with greater construction costs and greater resistance to stem damage for denser wood. Growth and mortality rates also declined as seed volume increased. This is consistent with an adaptive syndrome in which species tolerant of low resource availability (in this case shade-tolerant species) have large seeds to establish successfully and low inherent growth and mortality rates. Growth increased and mortality decreased with an increase in adult stature, because taller species have a greater access to light and longer life spans. Specific leaf area was, surprisingly, only modestly informative for the performance of large trees and had ambiguous relationships with growth and survival. Single traits accounted for 9¿55% of the interspecific variation in growth and mortality rates at individual sites. Significant correlations with demographic rates tended to be similar across forests and for phylogenetically independent contrasts as well as for cross-species analyses that treated each species as an independent observation. In combination, the morphological traits explained 41% of the variation in growth rate and 54% of the variation in mortality rate, with wood density being the best predictor of growth and mortality. Relationships between functional traits and demographic rates were statistically similar across a wide range of Neotropical forests. The consistency of these results strongly suggests that tropical rain forest species face similar trade-offs in different sites and converge on similar sets of solutions
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