SP03e Plant functional traits and functional diversity as predictors of ecosystem functioning (sp03e traits)

In the first phase of BEF-China, this subproject has focused on the Comparative Study Plots (CSPs) in the Gutianshan National Nature Reserve and demonstrated how functional diversity is maintained during secondary succession. A large range of leaf and wood traits has been collected for the majority of species in the CSPs. In the second stage this subproject will continue to measure traits for the remaining species in the CSPs and in the experimental plots and additionally include new chemical (tannins and non-tannin phenolics) and ecophysiological traits (stomatal conductance) as predictors for herbivory and water use, respectively. As in the previous stage, compiling the trait dataset will be accomplished in close cooperation with the Chinese partner Dr. Shouren Zhang. In this stage, both partners will concentrate on traits related to plant water relations, focusing on measuring transpiration of all 42 tree species in the experiment and exploring the potential to scale up transpiration to the plot level. The whole suite of traits will be used to calculate different measures of functional diversity (FD) for all experimental plots of BEF-China, to assess phylogenetic and functional overdispersion or clustering in the CSPs and to analyze trait inter-relationships and trade-offs in the CSPs, thus providing a mechanistic basis for the results of the Research Unit. A new objective is to relate phenotypic variation to the Ecoscape variables in the two experimental sites, testing the hypothesis that species-rich mixtures should on average perform better across different environments than species-poor communities. Thus, this subproject will contribute to the overall aim of the Research Unit in this phase to analyze the transition phase of forests from abiotic to biotic control.


Paper proposal submissions