Beyond leaf habit: generalities in plant function across 97 tropical dry forest tree species

German Vargas G., Tim J. Brodribb, Juan M. Dupuy, Roy González-M., Catherine M. Hulshof, David Medvigy, Tristan A.P. Allerton, Camila Pizano, Beatriz Salgado-Negret, Naomi B. Schwartz, Skip J. Van Bloem, Bonnie G. Waring, Jennifer S. Powers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Leaf habit has been hypothesized to define a linkage between the slow-fast plant economic spectrum and the drought resistance-avoidance trade-off in tropical forests (‘slow-safe vs fast-risky’). However, variation in hydraulic traits as a function of leaf habit has rarely been explored for a large number of species. We sampled leaf and branch functional traits of 97 tropical dry forest tree species from four sites to investigate whether patterns of trait variation varied consistently in relation to leaf habit along the ‘slow-safe vs fast-risky’ trade-off. Leaf habit explained from 0% to 43.69% of individual trait variation. We found that evergreen and semi-deciduous species differed in their location along the multivariate trait ordination when compared to deciduous species. While deciduous species showed consistent trait values, evergreen species trait values varied as a function of the site. Last, trait values varied in relation to the proportion of deciduous species in the plant community. We found that leaf habit describes the strategies that define drought avoidance and plant economics in tropical trees. However, leaf habit alone does not explain patterns of trait variation, which suggests quantifying site-specific or species-specific uncertainty in trait variation as the way forward.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)148-161
Number of pages14
JournalNew Phytologist
Volume232
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank the United States Department of Energy for funding through the research grant DE‐SC0014363, and the Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Global Change at the University of Minnesota for the Pre‐Dissertation Research Grant awarded to GVG Technical Contribution no. 6842 of the Clemson University Experiment Station. The authors thank for on‐site help in the field to Santos Armin, Filogonio May Pat, Gabriela Quesada, Roberth Us Santamaría, Hernando Salgado Pava, Slendy Rodríguez Alarcón, Daniel Pérez‐Aviles, Ramón Agosto and David Rivera‐Polanco. The authors also thank for logistical support to the Kaxil Kiuic Biocultural Reserve director James Callaghan, to Paul Camilo Zalamea, Eduardo Zalamea, Ethna Camacho, Área de Conservación Guanacaste staff, Puerto Rico's Departamento de Recursos Naturales y Ambientales director Darien López Ocasio, and Guanica State Forest Manager Eloy Martínez.

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank the United States Department of Energy for funding through the research grant DE-SC0014363, and the Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Global Change at the University of Minnesota for the Pre-Dissertation Research Grant awarded to GVG Technical Contribution no. 6842 of the Clemson University Experiment Station. The authors thank for on-site help in the field to Santos Armin, Filogonio May Pat, Gabriela Quesada, Roberth Us Santamar?a, Hernando Salgado Pava, Slendy Rodr?guez Alarc?n, Daniel P?rez-Aviles, Ram?n Agosto and David Rivera-Polanco. The authors also thank for logistical support to the Kaxil Kiuic Biocultural Reserve director James Callaghan, to Paul Camilo Zalamea, Eduardo Zalamea, Ethna Camacho, ?rea de Conservaci?n Guanacaste staff, Puerto Rico's Departamento de Recursos Naturales y Ambientales director Darien L?pez Ocasio, and Guanica State Forest Manager Eloy Mart?nez.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors. New Phytologist © 2021 New Phytologist Foundation

Keywords

  • drought tolerance
  • functional ecology
  • leaf habit
  • plant hydraulics
  • turgor loss point

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

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