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Linking leaf veins to growth and mortality rates: an example from a subtropical tree community

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

A fundamental goal in ecology is to link variation in species function to performance, but functional trait–performance investigations have had mixed success. This indicates that less commonly measured functional traits may more clearly elucidate trait–performance relationships. Despite the potential importance of leaf vein traits, which are expected to be related to resource delivery rates and photosynthetic capacity, there are few studies, which examine associations between these traits and demographic performance in communities. Here, we examined the associations between species traits including leaf venation traits and demographic rates (Relative Growth Rate, RGR and mortality) as well as the spatial distributions of traits along soil environment for 54 co‐occurring species in a subtropical forest. Size‐related changes in demographic rates were estimated using a hierarchical Bayesian approach. Next, Kendall's rank correlations were quantified between traits and estimated demographic rates at a given size and between traits and species‐average soil environment. Species with denser venation, smaller areoles, less succulent, or thinner leaves showed higher RGR for a wide range of size classes. Species with leaves of denser veins, larger area, cheaper construction costs or thinner, or low‐density wood were associated with high mortality rates only in small size classes. Lastly, contrary to our expectations, acquisitive traits were not related to resource‐rich edaphic conditions. This study shows that leaf vein traits are weakly, but significantly related to tree demographic performance together with other species traits. Because leaf traits associated with an acquisitive strategy such as denser venation, less succulence, and thinner leaves showed higher growth rate, but similar leaf traits were not associated with mortality, different pathways may shape species growth and survival. This study suggests that we are still not measuring some of key traits related to resource‐use strategies, which dictate the demography and distributions of species.

No MeSH data available.


Correlation coefficients between 12 species traits and mortality rate, M at 1‐cm stem diameter. Species traits includes four leaf vein traits of (A) vein density (VLA), (B) the mean distance to nearest areole (DA), (C) the mean distance to nearest vein (DV), and (D) the vein areole distance ratio (VADR), and other six leaf traits of (E) leaf area (LA), (F) specific leaf area (SLA), (G) succulence, (H) thickness, and (I) mass‐based nitrogen and (J) phosphorus (Nmass and Pmass), and (K) wood density (WD) and (L) maximum height (Hmax). Each value of correlation coefficient, tau indicates the median of probability distribution of tau. In the case, that 95% interval of probability distribution does not include the zero, the correlation between species trait and mortality rate is significant and then circle was filled. The downward line shows the decline of number of species compared. Species whose D95 is less than reference D was excluded from comparison and correlations were applied until the reference D which included 20 species for comparison.
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ece32311-fig-0002: Correlation coefficients between 12 species traits and mortality rate, M at 1‐cm stem diameter. Species traits includes four leaf vein traits of (A) vein density (VLA), (B) the mean distance to nearest areole (DA), (C) the mean distance to nearest vein (DV), and (D) the vein areole distance ratio (VADR), and other six leaf traits of (E) leaf area (LA), (F) specific leaf area (SLA), (G) succulence, (H) thickness, and (I) mass‐based nitrogen and (J) phosphorus (Nmass and Pmass), and (K) wood density (WD) and (L) maximum height (Hmax). Each value of correlation coefficient, tau indicates the median of probability distribution of tau. In the case, that 95% interval of probability distribution does not include the zero, the correlation between species trait and mortality rate is significant and then circle was filled. The downward line shows the decline of number of species compared. Species whose D95 is less than reference D was excluded from comparison and correlations were applied until the reference D which included 20 species for comparison.

Mentions: Significant correlations between species traits and mortality rates were found only at small size classes (Fig. 2). VLA and VADR were positively and DA and DV were negatively correlated with mortality rates, suggesting that species with denser or narrower vein, or smaller window tend to show higher mortality rates at 1‐ to 3‐cm stem diameters and species with lower photosynthetic capacity tend to show higher mortality rate up to 9‐cm stem diameter. Leaf area (LA), specific leaf area (SLA), and mass‐based nitrogen and phosphorus contents (Nmass and Pmass) were positively and leaf thickness was negatively correlated with mortality rates at small size classes, suggesting that species with larger, cheaper, thinner, nitrogen‐rich, or phosphorus‐rich leaves tend to show higher mortality at small sizes. Wood density was negatively correlated with mortality rates up to 13‐cm stem diameter but Hmax was not significantly correlated with mortality rates at any sizes.


Linking leaf veins to growth and mortality rates: an example from a subtropical tree community
Correlation coefficients between 12 species traits and mortality rate, M at 1‐cm stem diameter. Species traits includes four leaf vein traits of (A) vein density (VLA), (B) the mean distance to nearest areole (DA), (C) the mean distance to nearest vein (DV), and (D) the vein areole distance ratio (VADR), and other six leaf traits of (E) leaf area (LA), (F) specific leaf area (SLA), (G) succulence, (H) thickness, and (I) mass‐based nitrogen and (J) phosphorus (Nmass and Pmass), and (K) wood density (WD) and (L) maximum height (Hmax). Each value of correlation coefficient, tau indicates the median of probability distribution of tau. In the case, that 95% interval of probability distribution does not include the zero, the correlation between species trait and mortality rate is significant and then circle was filled. The downward line shows the decline of number of species compared. Species whose D95 is less than reference D was excluded from comparison and correlations were applied until the reference D which included 20 species for comparison.
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ece32311-fig-0002: Correlation coefficients between 12 species traits and mortality rate, M at 1‐cm stem diameter. Species traits includes four leaf vein traits of (A) vein density (VLA), (B) the mean distance to nearest areole (DA), (C) the mean distance to nearest vein (DV), and (D) the vein areole distance ratio (VADR), and other six leaf traits of (E) leaf area (LA), (F) specific leaf area (SLA), (G) succulence, (H) thickness, and (I) mass‐based nitrogen and (J) phosphorus (Nmass and Pmass), and (K) wood density (WD) and (L) maximum height (Hmax). Each value of correlation coefficient, tau indicates the median of probability distribution of tau. In the case, that 95% interval of probability distribution does not include the zero, the correlation between species trait and mortality rate is significant and then circle was filled. The downward line shows the decline of number of species compared. Species whose D95 is less than reference D was excluded from comparison and correlations were applied until the reference D which included 20 species for comparison.
Mentions: Significant correlations between species traits and mortality rates were found only at small size classes (Fig. 2). VLA and VADR were positively and DA and DV were negatively correlated with mortality rates, suggesting that species with denser or narrower vein, or smaller window tend to show higher mortality rates at 1‐ to 3‐cm stem diameters and species with lower photosynthetic capacity tend to show higher mortality rate up to 9‐cm stem diameter. Leaf area (LA), specific leaf area (SLA), and mass‐based nitrogen and phosphorus contents (Nmass and Pmass) were positively and leaf thickness was negatively correlated with mortality rates at small size classes, suggesting that species with larger, cheaper, thinner, nitrogen‐rich, or phosphorus‐rich leaves tend to show higher mortality at small sizes. Wood density was negatively correlated with mortality rates up to 13‐cm stem diameter but Hmax was not significantly correlated with mortality rates at any sizes.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

A fundamental goal in ecology is to link variation in species function to performance, but functional trait–performance investigations have had mixed success. This indicates that less commonly measured functional traits may more clearly elucidate trait–performance relationships. Despite the potential importance of leaf vein traits, which are expected to be related to resource delivery rates and photosynthetic capacity, there are few studies, which examine associations between these traits and demographic performance in communities. Here, we examined the associations between species traits including leaf venation traits and demographic rates (Relative Growth Rate, RGR and mortality) as well as the spatial distributions of traits along soil environment for 54 co‐occurring species in a subtropical forest. Size‐related changes in demographic rates were estimated using a hierarchical Bayesian approach. Next, Kendall's rank correlations were quantified between traits and estimated demographic rates at a given size and between traits and species‐average soil environment. Species with denser venation, smaller areoles, less succulent, or thinner leaves showed higher RGR for a wide range of size classes. Species with leaves of denser veins, larger area, cheaper construction costs or thinner, or low‐density wood were associated with high mortality rates only in small size classes. Lastly, contrary to our expectations, acquisitive traits were not related to resource‐rich edaphic conditions. This study shows that leaf vein traits are weakly, but significantly related to tree demographic performance together with other species traits. Because leaf traits associated with an acquisitive strategy such as denser venation, less succulence, and thinner leaves showed higher growth rate, but similar leaf traits were not associated with mortality, different pathways may shape species growth and survival. This study suggests that we are still not measuring some of key traits related to resource‐use strategies, which dictate the demography and distributions of species.

No MeSH data available.