James Dalling



Program in Evolution Ecology & Conservation

149 Morrill MC-116
(217) 244-8914


Ph.D., 1992, Cambridge University


My research concerns the population and community ecology of tropical trees, with a particular interest in understanding processes that determine the abundance and distribution patterns of pioneer species. Some of my current projects look at:

  1. seed dispersal, seed germination and the importance of recruitment limitation in maintaining tree diversity
  2. importance of fungal pathogens as sources of seed mortality
  3. the role of herbivores in shaping the local distribution of pioneers in relation to light
  4. habitat partitioning in relation to soil resources in lowland and montane forests.


Much of my research is conducted at Barro Colorado Island (BCI), and the Fortuna Forest Reserve in Panama, and at a range of large-scale forest dynamics plots in the Asian and American tropics that form part of the Center for Tropical Forest Science.


Baldeck, C.A., Harms, K.E., Yavitt, Y.B., John, R., Turner, B.L., Valencia, R., Navarrete, H., Davies, S.J., Chuyong, G.B., Kenfack, D., Thomas, D.W., Madawala, S., Gunatilleke, N., Gunatilleke, S., Bunyavejchewin, S., Kiratiprayoon, S.

Yaacob, A., Nur Supardi, M.A., Dalling, J.W. (2013) Soil resources and topography shape local tree community structure in tropical forests Proceedings Royal Society Series B, doi: 10.1098/rspb.2012.2532


Lobo, E., Dalling, J.W. (2014) Spatial scale and sampling resolution affect measures of gap disturbance in a lowland tropical forest: implications for understanding forest regeneration and carbon storage Proceedings of the Royal Society Series B, 281:20133218


Andersen, K.M., Turner, B.L., Dalling, J.W. (2014) Seedling performance trade-offs influencing habitat filtering along a soil nutrient gradient in tropical forest. Ecology, 95:3399-3413