Related Research Areas
Carbon Cycle & Ecosystems

This project will study shifts in tree species community composition and plant functional types (PFTs) across disturbance gradients in the Amazon basin. Research will be conducted in the Brazilian and Peruvian Amazon, at sites near Manaus and Iquitos. Activities will build on and extend research conducted under NASA-funded LBA projects. Current approaches for sampling tropical tree diversity rely on field investigations that sample only a small portion of key environmental gradients. This project will bring together a close coupling of extensive field measurements of tree diversity patterns, satellite remote sensing to enable sampling across regional disturbance gradients, and community simulation models to better understand the mechanisms responsible for observed patterns at regional scales. The overarching hypothesis is that tree species community assembly patterns at the landscape scale, driven by episodic disturbance events, differ significantly from community assembly patterns at the local (< 100 ha) scale. The project has four major goals: First, episodic tree mortality disturbance will be mapped over large Amazon landscapes using Landsat imagery, enabling the development of disturbance chronosequences covering more than 20 years. Second, the chronosequence data will be used to direct extensive field sampling to quantify tree species patterns across the landscape as a function of disturbance intensity, and time since disturbance. Third, the detection threshold for shifts in PFTs from the competitor to colonizer guild will be explored using hyperspectral (Hyperion) imagery. Fourth, a tractable community assembly model will be developed to explore which community assemblage mechanisms best fit the observed landscape-level patterns. Results will provide an improved understanding of shifts in tree diversity and PFTs with disturbance, and will help inform future NASA missions including DESDynI and HyspIRI. This project will directly address the stated goal of better understanding the current condition of Amazon forest biodiversity, and how it is changing over time.

Project PI: Jeffrey Chambers/Tulane University

Tulane University Ecology and Evolutionary Biology 400 Lindy Boggs New Orleans, LA 70118

Phone: 504-862-8291

Fax: 504-862-8706



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Started: Aug 09, 2010

Last Activity: Dec 10, 2010


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