Developmental and Structural Section
Martinez Cabrera, Hugo , Schenk , H. Jochen , Jones, Cynthia S. .
Integration of wood traits and height in trees and shrubs: Many ways to be a shrub, but only one way to be a tree?
Several recent studies have examined relationships among wood density and xylem vessel traits across woody species, but few have questioned whether these traits vary between shrubs and trees. Here we compare the relationship between wood density, height and xylem vessel traits in trees and shrubs using bivariate and multivariate relationships among traits for 65 shrubs and 135 trees in combined and separate analyses. Trees showed coordination among vessel traits, wood density and height, while in shrubs, wood density and vessel traits were independent. When all traits are considered in a multivariate context, trees and shrubs occupied different positions in trait space. Incorporating phylogenetic history shows that the relationships among traits are evolutionarily conserved in trees but not in shrubs. We propose that differences in the relationships among traits in each growth form are due differences in resource availability. In high resource environments that favor trees, competition for light selects for height growth, requiring efficient water transport paired with low carbon investment to mechanical support. In low-resource habitats where shrubs predominate, fast growth is not favored and therefore water transport efficiency and allocation to support are not necessarily coupled. Lower trait integration in shrubs suggests greater evolutionary and ecological flexibility that may have facilitated shrub expansion into more stressful environments, while tighter trait integration in trees suggest a more restricted evolutionary trajectory of tree clades.
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1 - University of Connecticut, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, 75 North Eagleville Rd, U-3043, Storrs, Connecticut, 062693043, USA
2 - California State University Fullerton, Department of Biological Science, Fullerton, CA , 92834-6850 , USA
3 - University of Connecticut, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, 75 North Eagleville Road, U-3043, Storrs, Connecticut, 062693043, USA
Presentation Type: Poster:Posters for Sections
Location: Hall A/Convention Center
Date: Monday, August 2nd, 2010
Time: 5:30 PM