259 research outputs found

    A trait database for Guianan rain forest trees permits intra- and inter-specific contrasts

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    International audienceWe present a plant trait database covering autecology for rain forest trees of French Guiana. The database comprises more than thirty traits including autecology (e.g., habitat associations and reproductive phenology), wood structure (e.g., density and tension characteristics) and physiology at the whole plant (e.g., carbon and nitrogen isotopes) and leaf level (e.g., specific leaf area, photosynthetic capacity). The current database describes traits for about nine hundred species from three hundred genera in one hundred families. For more than sixty species, data on twelve morphological and ecophysiological traits are provided for individual plants under different environmental conditions and at different ontogenetic stages. The database is thus unique in permitting intraspecific analyses, such as the effects of ontogenetic stages or environmental conditions on trait values and their relationships

    Performance Trade‐Offs Among Tropical Tree Seedlings In Contrasting Microhabitats

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    Peer Reviewedhttp://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/2027.42/117031/1/ecy20058692461.pd

    Optimal strategies for sampling functional traits in species-rich forests

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    1. Functional traits provide insight into a variety of ecological questions, yet the optimal sampling method to estimate the community-level distribution of plant functional trait values remains a subject of debate, especially in species-rich forests. 2. We present a simulation analysis of the trait distribution of a set of nine completely sampled permanent plots in the lowland rain forests of French Guiana. 3. Increased sampling intensity consistently improved accuracy in estimating community-weighted means and variances of functional trait values, whereas there was substantial variation among functional traits and minor differences among sampling strategies. 4. Thus, investment in intensified sampling yields a greater improvement in the accuracy of estimation than does an equivalent investment in sampling design complication. 5. Notably, ‘taxon-free' strategies frequently had greater accuracy than did abundance-based strategies, which had the additional cost of requiring botanical surveys. 6. We conclude that there is no substitute for extensive field sampling to accurately characterize the distribution of functional trait values in species-rich forests

    Trait‐based community assembly pattern along a forest succession gradient in a seasonally dry tropical forest

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    We aimed to determine the important functional dimensions that may drive forest succession and community assembly patterns in dry tropical forests. We investigated whether there were patterns in specific functional strategies during succession in the dry tropical forests of the Florida Keys, whose unique physical setting includes nutrient‐stressed, salt‐stressed, and water‐limited environments. The study, which focused on ten traits, determined the leading trait dimensions by which species differentiate from one another in the study area. The general patterns of trait covariation at individual sites and among species were analyzed using principal component analysis. Trait niche overlap indices were calculated for all species sampled across all plots. Evidence for/against likely community assembly processes was tested using the coefficient of heterogeneity to determine whether variation within and among five key traits was clustered, random, or evenly distributed across young, old, or all measured forest stands. A combination of plant architecture, wood density, and three leaf traits (specific leaf area, leaf phosphorus, and leaf nitrogen) comprised a key set of functional traits that are important for understanding the community assembly process in dry tropical forest. Older forest stands were dominated by species with low specific area, low leaf nitrogen content, dense wood, and deeper and narrower canopies. Trees of old forests had leaves with lighter carbon isotope composition, suggesting that such individuals were making more efficient use of scarce water. Tests of trait distributions showed significant clustering across forests of all ages. When individual trait distributions in old stands were tested, they displayed either randomly or evenly distributed traits across trait niche space, indicating that resource partitioning was predominant in shaping community composition. Physical traits of trees in young communities are associated with resource acquisitive strategies, while old communities are dominated by species with traits that enhance survival in environments defined by competition or chronic resource scarcity

    Within-individual variation of trunk and branch xylem density in tropical trees

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    Premise of the study: Wood density correlates with mechanical and physiological strategies of trees and is important for estimating global carbon stocks. Nonetheless, the relationship between branch and trunk xylem density has been poorly explored in neotropical trees. Here, we examine this relationship in trees from French Guiana and its variation among different families and sites, to improve the understanding of wood density in neotropical forests. Methods: Trunk and branch xylem densities were measured for 1909 trees in seven sites across French Guiana. A major-axis fit was performed to explore their general allometric relationship and its variation among different families and sites. Key results: Trunk xylem and branch xylem densities were significantly positively correlated, and their relationship explained 47% of the total variance. Trunk xylem was on average 9% denser than branch xylem. Family-level differences and interactions between family and site accounted for more than 40% of the total variance, whereas differences among sites explained little variation. Conclusions: Variation in xylem density within individual trees can be substantial, and the relationship between branch xylem and trunk xylem densities varies considerably among families and sites. As such, whole-tree biomass estimates based on non- destructive branch sampling should correct for both taxonomic and environmental factors. Furthermore, detailed estimates of the vertical distribution of wood density within individual trees are needed to determine the extent to which relying solely upon measures of trunk wood density may cause carbon stocks in tropical forests to be overestimated

    Revisiting the hyperdominance of Neotropical tree species under a taxonomic, functional and evolutionary perspective

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    Recent studies have leveraged large datasets from plot-inventory networks to report a phenomenon of hyperdominance in Amazonian tree communities, concluding that few species are common and many are rare. However, taxonomic hypotheses may not be consistent across these large plot networks, potentially masking cryptic diversity and threatened rare taxa. In the current study, we have reviewed one of the most abundant putatively hyperdominant taxa, Protium heptaphyllum (Aubl.) Marchand (Burseraceae), long considered to be a taxonomically difficult species complex. Using morphological, genomic, and functional data, we present evidence that P. heptaphyllum sensu lato may represent eight separately evolving lineages, each warranting species status. Most of these lineages are geographically restricted, and few if any of them could be considered hyperdominant on their own. In addition, functional trait data are consistent with the hypothesis that trees from each lineage are adapted to distinct soil and climate conditions. Moreover, some of the newly discovered species are rare, with habitats currently experiencing rapid deforestation. We highlight an urgent need to improve sampling and methods for species discovery in order to avoid oversimplified assumptions regarding diversity and rarity in the tropics and the implications for ecosystem functioning and conservation