Spatially continuous data on functional diversity, the diversity of traits within a community, will improve our ability to predict the impact of global change on ecosystem properties. We applied methods that combine airborne laser scanning and imaging spectroscopy to estimate functional diversity at different spatial scales across a Amazon-to-Andes elevation gradient (215-3537 m) in nine sites. We assessed how functional diversity changes with elevation, evaluated the scale dependency of community-assembly processes, and whether remotely-sensed diversity indices influence ecosystem productivity. With increasing elevation there was a directional shift from acquisitive to more conservative strategies. We found that environmental filtering plays an important role in explaining the range of trait variation along elevation. Single and multi-trait indices were as important as temperature in explaining variation in the rates of ecosystem productivity with elevation. Our findings highlight the capability of remotely-sensed diversity to inform trait-based ecology and trait diversity-function linkages in hyperdiverse systems.
About the Speaker: Sandra M. Duran (Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Arizona)
Sandra M Duran is a postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Arizona in collaboration with Dr. Brian Enquist. She completed PhD in Ecology at the University of Alberta in Canada. She is a broadly trained plant ecologist with extensive field experience in Colombia, Brazil, Costa Rica, Canada and the USA. Her current research focuses on understanding how human-caused disturbances and climate change affect the abundance and distribution of plant communities, and how changes in plant traits influence ecosystem processes and function. Specifically, her work focuses on developing approaches for how functional traits can be used to “scale up” from individual to communities and ecosystems. To address these questions, she uses use a wide range of techniques and approaches including establishing forest permanent plots, quantifying carbon biomass, measuring plant functional traits, aboveground carbon fluxes using the tent method, and retrieving plant traits from spectra reflectance in temperate and tropical communities
Hosted by: Haruko Wainwright