Defining Functional Strategies of Trees

Species phenotypes are the outcome of a combination of multiple functional traits that mediate species responses to the environment and ultimately influence fitness. Often, these traits covary with each other as a result of trade-offs, that constraint trait variation defining trait dimensions. These trait dimensions are useful for classifying and characterizing species into different ecological strategies. However, most of the current knowledge of functional dimensions are focused on leaf traits. We are developing projects interested in characterizing functional dimensions of trees.

Last summer (2019), we started a project at the E.S. George Reserve in Michigan to investigate the relationships between leaf and root economics spectra and their variation along a soil fertility gradient.