SP02e Individual plant growth and branch demography as a function of species richness and composition (sp02e demography)

Spatial pattern, size and identity of plant individuals in the local neighborhood have a significant impact on plant growth and mortality, and thus productivity. This subproject will continue to address the influence of species richness on aboveground plant growth and branch demography at the individual and local neighborhood level to test the hypothesis that the diversity effect at the plot level is the overall result of the diversity effects at the local neighborhood level. In the second stage the direct measurements of architectural traits (stem, crown, branches) of individual plants and their neighbors will be continued in the Main Experiment and the Comparative Study Plots. In addition, this subproject is going to establish three-dimensional (3-D) terrestrial laser scanning techniques. Dense 3-D point cloud images will be used to analyze the 3-D architectural traits of groups of trees and shrubs at the local level. Repeated laser scanning over time will allow for the quantification of growth and mortality. Specific objectives are (i) to analyze the impact of species richness on individual-tree and -shrub growth and mortality within and among species, (ii) to quantify local neighbour interactions in terms of growth rates and branch demography and to test whether diversity reduces competition, (iii) to evaluate the ecological importance of phenotypic plasticity of tree and shrub individuals in relation to competition, species richness, and local terrain conditions and (iv) to analyze soil feed-backs on aboveground individual tree and -shrub growth and architecture.


Paper proposal submissions