IGN 6-9 - Does drought resilience scale simply with root hydraulic traits in tropical forests?

Tuesday, August 8, 2017
C124, Oregon Convention Center


Bradley Christoffersen, Los Alamos National Laboratory; Chonggang Xu, Los Alamos National Laboratory; Nate McDowell, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

High diversity in plant hydraulic traits may buffer tropical forests to changes in their moisture regime. Yet, diversity in root hydraulic traits and their spatial distribution remain poorly quantified. Models of coupled soil-plant hydraulics are a useful tool for diagnosing the impact of such diversity on functional responses at individual to ecosystem scales under diverse moisture regimes. The coordination, or lack thereof, of root strategies with aboveground plant hydraulic traits have the potential to equalize previously emphasized hydraulic differences among species. Enhanced understanding of root traits is essential for predicting “winners” and “losers” in tropical forests under environmental change.