Patterns and determinants of landscape scale foliar functional variation in diverse tropical tree communities
- More than half the species on the planet, and over 90% of all tree species, are found in tropical forests. However, the mechanisms that enable hundreds to thousands of competing tree species to co-exist in tropical forest communities remain poorly understood. Plant biodiversity is expressed not only in the taxonomic differences among species, but also in patterns among functional traits which contribute to their ecological success and among the phylogenetic and environmental determinants of functional trait variation. However, studies of plant functional diversity are rarely conducted with sufficient coverage or spatial scale to capture the influence of spatially-explicit environmental filters and derive patterns from highly heterogeneous tropical forest communities. This dissertation elucidates patterns of functional trait variation across spatial, phylogenetic, and environmental gradients in order to investigate how functional diversity may convey information on the community assembly mechanisms operating within tropical tree communities. Chapter 2 focuses on identifying patterns of functional trait co-variation among a community of tropical canopy trees on Barro Colorado Island, Panama (BCI). We find that two key axes relating to foliar resource allocation and anti-herbivore defense strategies describe over half the variation among 345 canopy trees across eleven functional traits. Chapter 3 explores the phylogenetic basis of variation among the foliar traits and spectral reflectance properties of tropical tree communities which span a range of environmental gradients. We find that the importance of phylogenetic relatedness in driving differences between species depends critically on environmentally-mediated trait variation. In Chapter 4, we evaluate the extent to which functional trait axes can be mapped using remotely-sensed imaging spectroscopy. We produce maps of functional variation for the tropical tree community of BCI, and evaluate the role for environmental gradients in generating patterns of strategic variation among canopy trees across the island. Through the identification of important dimensions of functional, phylogenetic, and environmental variation and the elucidation of relationships among these dimensions, this dissertation contributes to our understanding of the determinants of species co-existence in high diversity tropical plant communities at scales relevant to the expression and maintenance of tropical biodiversity.
|Type of resource
|electronic; electronic resource; remote
|1 online resource.
|McManus, Kelly Marie
|Stanford University, Department of Environmental Earth System Science.
|Asner, Gregory P
|Asner, Gregory P
|Statement of responsibility
|Kelly Marie McManus.
|Submitted to the Department of Environmental Earth System Science.
|Thesis (Ph.D.)--Stanford University, 2016.
- © 2016 by Kelly Marie McManus
- This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 Unported license (CC BY-NC).
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