Research Seminar: Dr Lucy Rowland - University of Exeter

2 March 2020, 1.00 PM - 2 March 2020, 2.00 PM

Dr Lucy Rowland hosted by Dr Tommaso Jucker

G13/14 Seminar Room


How does changing water and nutrient availability alter plant function in tropical rainforests.


Tropical rainforests are sensitive to changing water and nutrient availability. However, the capacity of tropical trees to tolerate changes in environmental conditions is linked to their ability to change key functional traits, a capacity which remains under-researched in these ecosystems. In this talk we will explore if tropical trees can adapt key functional traits that control their hydraulic and photosynthetic systems in response to reductions in water and nutrient availability. We will explore this using two key sites, one located in Borneo and a second in Brazil. The first is located in Sepilok forest in Malaysian Borneo, here we have undertaken trait measurements across a series of forest plots on a gradient from wetter, more nutrient rich soils, to drier, nutrient poor soils. Here we explore how the traits of specialist and generalist dipterocarp species change across forest types and if plasticity in key traits determines the capacity of species to survive across varying environmental conditions. Secondly, we have undertaken the same trait measurements at the world’s longest running drought experiment site in the Caxiuanã forest in north east Brazil. Here we use an experimental manipulation to test for the potential of tropical trees to adapt to drier conditions following 16 years of receiving only 50% of their normal rainfall. At both sites we also explore the role which tree size and developmental stage plays in controlling the plasticity of traits across environmental gradients.

Contact information

Please contact if you have any queries.

Edit this page