Plant functional types are more efficient than climate in predicting spectrums of trait variation in evergreen angiosperm trees of tropical Australia and China

Thursday, 17 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
Henrique Furstenau Togashi1,2, Iain C Prentice1,3, Owen K Atkin4,5, Keith J Bloomfield4, Matt Bradford6, Lasantha K Weerasinghe4,7, Sandy P Harrison8, Bradley John Evans2,9, Michael J Liddell10, Han Wang11, Kun-Fang Cao12 and Ze-xin Fan13, (1)Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia, (2)Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network Ecosystem Modelling and Scaling Infrastructure, Macquarie University 2109 and University of Sydney 2006, NSW, Australia, Sydney, Australia, (3)AXA Chair of Biosphere and Climate Impacts, Grand Challenges in Ecosystems and the Environment and Grantham Institute, Climate Change and the Environment, Department of Life Sciences, Imperial College London, Silwood Park Campus, Buckhurst Road, Ascot SL5, London, United Kingdom, (4)Division of Plant Sciences, Research School of Biology, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia, Canberra, Australia, (5)ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology, Research School of Biology, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia, Canberra, Australia, (6)CSIRO Land and Water, Tropical Forest Research Centre, P.O. Box 780, Atherton, Q, 4883, Australia, Atherton, Australia, (7)Faculty of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya, Peradeniya 20400, Sri Lanka, Peradeniya, Sri Lanka, (8)University of Reading, Reading, United Kingdom, (9)Macquarie University, SOUTH TURRAMURRA, Australia, (10)Discipline of Chemistry & Centre for Tropical Environmental and Sustainable Sciences, James Cook University, Cairns, Qld, Australia, Cairns, Australia, (11)Northwest A&F University, Yangling, China, (12)State Key Laboratory for Conservation and Utilization of Subtropical Agrobioresources, and College of Forestry, Guangxi University, Nanning 530004, Guangxi, China, Guangxi, China, (13)Key Laboratory of Tropical Forest Ecology, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Menla 666303, China., Menla, China
The representation of Plant Functional Types (PFTs) in current generation of Dynamic Global Vegetation Models (DGVMs) is excessively simplistically. Key ecophysiological properties, such as photosynthesis biochemistry, are most times merely averaged and trade-off with other plant traits is often neglected. Validation of a PFT framework based in photosynthetic process is crucial to improve reliability of DGVMs. We present 431 leaf-biochemical and wood level measurements in evergreen angiosperm trees of tropical forests in Australia and China that were divided in four spectrums of plant trait variation: metabolic, structural, hydraulic and height dimensions. Plant traits divided in each of these dimensions adopt survival strategies reflected more clearly by trade-off within each spectrum, and in some extent across spectrums. Co-ordination theory (that Rubisco- and electron-transport limited rates of photosynthesis are co-limiting) and least-coast theory (that intercellular to ambient CO2 concentration minimizes the combined costs per unit carbon assimilation, regulating maximum height and wood density) expectations matched PFT (which takes in account canopy position and light access, and life spam) variation. Our findings suggest that climate (air moisture, air temperature, light) has lower power representing these dimensions, in comparison to the PFT framework.