Leaf and wood dimensions

Leaf and wood dimensions: Understanding topical forest diversity by integrating data and mechanistic models

Durée : 2019 - 2021
Programme : Dr. Cécile Dewitt-Morette France-UT Endowed Excellence Fund; Make Our Planet Great Again initiative
Portée : Internationale

Understanding species coexistence has long perplexed ecologists. Why does not a single species win? Coexisting species differ significantly in important traits. Some species are spenders- they have thin leaves they use for less than a year. Other species are conservative- they invest in sturdy, thick leaves and maintain them for many years. You might expect that how these trees build their leaves would relate to how they build their wood- fast and cheap or slow and sturdy. But they do not- the variation across species in leaf and wood strategies appears unrelated. This pattern and its influence on species behavior give us clues to the potential strategy space of trees. Here we combine our groups’ strengths in trait-based ecology and theoretical eco-evolutionary modelling to understand tree strategies within a dynamic forest. This understanding of the earth system is critical to our ability to manage and predict the pace of climate change.


  • University of Texas at Austin