We have been studying the dynamics of the semi-deciduous tropical forest on Barro Colorado Island (BCI), Panama, since 1980, to test hypotheses for the maintenance of >300 tree species in this forest. Over these 35 years, the BCI tree community has been remarkably dynamic, with a third of all species changing by more than 50 percent in total abundance over a time period of less than a quarter of the lifespan of most canopy trees. These changes are not successional, but due in part to the forcing by climatic events such as El Niño's, and stochastic processes such as drift, operating particularly strongly in rare tree species having few individuals. However, there are also endogenous, deterministic processes at work. We are now testing the Enemy Susceptibility Hypothesis, that a kind of spatial predator-prey dynamic is operating between host tree species and their pathogenic, heart-rot fungi that cause unceasing spatial dynamics and turnover of tree populations at landscape scales.
Coffee and cookies will be served at 4 p.m.
Host: EEB graduate students, Rafael D'Andrea
Watch a YouTube video of the seminar.