Research Areas: 

Plant responses to variation in nutrient supply

Together with Robert John (ATREE), Kyle Harms (Louisiana State University), Joe Yavitt (Cornell University), Ben Turner (Smithsonian) and collaborators from the Center for Tropical Forest Science network we have created maps of soil nutrient availability for a set of ten large (25-50 ha) forest dynamics plots. These large-scale, high resolution soils maps provide an unprecedented opportunity to explore how edaphic site conditions affect forest growth and structure, and contribute to the maintenance of diversity through resource-based niche partitioning.

Our soil sampling and analysis protocol for this project can be obtained from Kyle's website here. Datasets (soil maps and block estimates of soil nutrient concentrations for individual quadrats in the BCI 50 ha forest dynamics plot) can be obtained from the CTFS web site here.

Our first publication from this project can be downloaded from this link. We show that 30-40 % of tree species in the three neotropical plot sites we have worked at (Barro Colorado Island, Panama; La Planada, Colombia; Yasuni, Ecuador) have distribution patterns that are significantly associated with one or more soil nutrient variables. Our current work expands the range of sites for which detailed soil mapping is available, and explores how variation in soils influences compositional and phylogenetic beta diversity.

Dept. of Plant Biology School of Integrative Biology
Program in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology University of Illinois