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Convergence in relationships between leaf traits, spectra and age across diverse canopy environments and two contrasting tropical forests

Wu, Jin; Chavana-Bryant, Cecilia; Prohaska, Neill; Serbin, Shawn P.; Guan, Kaiyu; Albert, Loren P.; Yang, Xi; van Leeuwen, Willem J.D.; Garnello, Anthony John; Martins, Giordane; Malhi, Yadvinder; Gerard, France; Oliviera, Raimundo Cosme; Saleska, Scott R.. 2017 Convergence in relationships between leaf traits, spectra and age across diverse canopy environments and two contrasting tropical forests [in special issue: Featured papers on ‘Tropical plants and ecosystem function’] New Phytologist, 214 (3). 1033-1048. https://doi.org/10.1111/nph.14051

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Abstract/Summary

• Leaf age structures the phenology and development of plants, as well as the evolution of leaf traits over life histories. However, a general method for efficiently estimating leaf age across forests and canopy environments is lacking. • Here, we explored the potential for a statistical model, previously developed for Peruvian sunlit leaves, to consistently predict leaf ages from leaf reflectance spectra across two contrasting forests in Peru and Brazil and across diverse canopy environments. • The model performed well for independent Brazilian sunlit and shade canopy leaves (R2 = 0.75–0.78), suggesting that canopy leaves (and their associated spectra) follow constrained developmental trajectories even in contrasting forests. The model did not perform as well for mid-canopy and understory leaves (R2 = 0.27–0.29), because leaves in different environments have distinct traits and trait developmental trajectories. When we accounted for distinct environment–trait linkages – either by explicitly including traits and environments in the model, or, even better, by re-parameterizing the spectra-only model to implicitly capture distinct trait-trajectories in different environments – we achieved a more general model that well-predicted leaf age across forests and environments (R2 = 0.79). • Fundamental rules, linked to leaf environments, constrain the development of leaf traits and allow for general prediction of leaf age from spectra across species, sites and canopy environments.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): https://doi.org/10.1111/nph.14051
CEH Sections/Science Areas: Reynard
ISSN: 0028-646X
Additional Keywords: leaf mass per area (LMA), leaf water content (LWC), partial least-squares regression (PLSR), spectroscopy, understory, vegetation indices, vertical canopy profiles
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 07 Jul 2016 14:00 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/511756

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