Modeling tree growth for projections and physiological inference

Category: Time:
Wednesday, November 6, 2013 - 12:00 to 13:00
Room: Speaker:
Sean McMahon
Temperate Forest Program Coordinator for the Smithsonian's Global Earth Observatory
Steve Leavitt
Calendar Status:

Tree growth is a critical process in biogeochemical cycles, forest health, and a vital rate fundamental to understanding ecological and evolutionary change of forests.  In this talk I will discuss growth from three different angles.  I will first look at growth of individual trees, linking intra-annual growth to weather, and in particular precipitation.  This is part of a research program to tie physiological processes to vital rates and higher-level population dynamics.  I will then introduce the importance of growth to projecting forests at the population level using integral projection models (IPMs).  IPMs model growth as a function of size. I will argue that for population projection, modeling the variance in growth is more important than the functional form of growth.  Finally, I will discuss the potential to incorporate age into stage structured models (like IPMs).  We might be able to combine analyses of age from dendrochronology to stage data from permanent plots in a way that can tease apart size-specific and which age-specific components of growth and survival.