Leaf functional traits of tropical forest plants in relation to growth form
Article first published online: 13 NOV 2006
Volume 21, Issue 1, pages 19–27, February 2007
How to Cite
SANTIAGO, L. S. and WRIGHT, S. J. (2007), Leaf functional traits of tropical forest plants in relation to growth form. Functional Ecology, 21: 19–27. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2435.2006.01218.x
- Issue published online: 13 NOV 2006
- Article first published online: 13 NOV 2006
- Received 22 February 2006; revised 15 August 2006; accepted 21 September 2006Editor: Lawren Sack
- canopy crane;
- leaf life span;
- tropical forest physiology
- 1We tested the generality of global leaf trait relationships among 44 tropical plant species from a broad array of growth forms (trees, lianas and understorey plants) in lowland Panama to determine how leaf trait relationships vary with whole-plant morphology within one site.
- 2We observed significant variation among growth forms for seven out of 10 leaf traits. Variation in leaf traits among growth forms was more pronounced per area than per mass. Thirteen bivariate leaf trait relationships that describe how plants allocate resources to photosynthesis were significant across all species. Growth forms showed distinct slopes, intercepts or shifts in the common slope for 12 of the 13 relationships.
- 3Trait relationships within trees and lianas showed good agreement with a global leaf trait data set. However, for understorey plants, trait relationships that included specific leaf area (SLA) deviated from the global data set, suggesting that understorey leaf-allocation patterns optimize SLA, and hence growth.
- 4Lianas showed lower values and rates of gas exchange than trees, and longer leaf life span for a given SLA, illustrating variation in leaf traits associated with growth form and canopy geometry.
- 5Functional variation in allocation to photosynthetic capacity among tropical forest species is related to microhabitat variations in light availability and whole-plant morphology among growth forms.