the last ten years we have been examining how seed and seedling
characteristics influence recruitment success, habitat requirements, and
competitive interactions among pioneer species on Barro Colorado Island,
Panama. Our current work concerns seed germination ecology, determinants of
seed persistence in the soil, and plant-fungal interactions. Most recently we have received
NSF funding to explore how seed dormancy characteristics are related to seed chemical and physical
defenses and seed infection from mutualistic, pathogenic and saprobic fungi.
More information is available about this project here: tropicalseeds.org .
This is a continuing
Betsy Arnold (University
of Arizona). We are also excited to start working with
Adam Davis (USDA Global Change and Photosynthesis Research) and Camilo Zalamea, our project post-doc.
In addition, we are also exploring how tropical pioneer tree distributions are affected by soil nutrient
availability using seedling growth experiments under greenhouse conditions.