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Among 13 tropical tree species on Barro Colorado Island, species with high seedling mortality rates during the first year in shade had higher reltive growth rates (RGR) from germination to 2 months in both sun (23% full sun) and shade [2%, with and without lowered red: far red (R:FR) ratio] than shade tolerant species. Species with higher RGR in sun also(More)
Mechanistic information about tropical canopy function is emerging at the leaf, tree, stand and landscape levels. With improved canopy access, comprehensive data are accumulating about seasonal and spatial variation in light, temperature and humidity, and corresponding variation in leaf carbon gain and water loss. At the whole-plant level, simultaneous(More)
Plant traits – the morphological, anatomical, physiological, biochemical and phenological characteristics of plants and their organs – determine how primary producers respond to environmental factors, affect other trophic levels, influence ecosystem processes and services and provide a link from species richness to ecosystem functional diversity. Trait data(More)
A trade-off between growth and mortality rates characterizes tree species in closed canopy forests. This trade-off is maintained by inherent differences among species and spatial variation in light availability caused by canopy-opening disturbances. We evaluated conditions under which the trade-off is expressed and relationships with four key functional(More)
The effect of leaf aging on photosynthetic capacities was examined for upper canopy leaves of five tropical tree species in a seasonally dry forest in Panama. These species varied in mean leaf longevity between 174 and 315 d, and in maximum leaf life span between 304 and 679 d. The light-saturated CO2 exchange rates of leaves produced during the primary(More)
The effect of leaf age on photosynthetic capacity, a critical parameter in the theory of optimal leaf longevity, was studied for two tropical pioneer tree species, Cecropia longipes and Urera caracasana, in a seasonally dry forest in Panama. These species continuously produce short-lived leaves (74 and 93 d, respectively) during the rainy season(More)
Leaf mechanical properties strongly influence leaf lifespan, plant-herbivore interactions, litter decomposition and nutrient cycling, but global patterns in their interspecific variation and underlying mechanisms remain poorly understood. We synthesize data across the three major measurement methods, permitting the first global analyses of leaf mechanics(More)
 We evaluated the hypothesis that photosynthetic traits differ between leaves produced at the beginning (May) and the end (November–December) of the rainy season in the canopy of a seasonally dry forest in Panama. Leaves produced at the end of the wet season were predicted to have higher photosynthetic capacities and higher water-use efficiencies than(More)
Recent global-scale analyses indicate that climate variability affects net carbon storage but regard temperature and precipitation to be the main contributors. Seasonal and interannual variation in light availability may also limit CO(2) uptake. As an experimental test of light limitation by cloud cover during tropical rainy seasons and by the unusually(More)
We investigated leaf physiological traits of dominant canopy trees in four lowland Panamanian forests with contrasting mean annual precipitation (1,800, 2,300, 3,100 and 3,500 mm). There was near complete turn-over of dominant canopy tree species among sites, resulting in greater dominance of evergreen species with long-lived leaves as precipitation(More)