COS 81-8
Synchrony, compensatory dynamics, and the functional traits linked to phenological diversity in a tropical tree community

Wednesday, August 12, 2015: 4:00 PM
320, Baltimore Convention Center
Jesse Lasky, Columbia University
Maria Uriarte, Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology, Columbia University, New York, NY
Robert Muscarella, Section for Ecoinformatics and Biodiversity, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark

Phenology is a key axis of niche partitioning, potentially promoting species coexistence. However, the environmental and biotic drivers of phenological diversity remain understudied. We use wavelet analyses to examine tree community flower and seed production at multiple temporal scales in a tropical dry forest. We asked: 1) do species exhibit temporally synchronous or compensatory reproduction, 2) do interspecific differences in phenology reflect variable responses to rainfall, and 3) are these differences associated with functional traits that mediate ecophysiological responses to moisture?


Community-level flowering was synchronized at multiple scales. However, seed release often exhibited significant compensatory dynamics, suggesting temporal niche partitioning. Species with large leaves synchronized reproduction with rainy seasons (~5 month scale), while taller species showed stronger associations with ~2 month scale rainfall. Our results suggest opposing drivers of synchronous versus compensatory reproduction at different temporal scales. Phenology-trait associations indicated that distinct ecophysiological strategies for coping with abiotic seasonality underlie interspecific phenological diversity.