Thesis Research


Shorea parvistipulata ssp. parvistipulata

Seedling dynamics and tree species diversity in a Bornean rain forest

Ecological processes that influence plant performance and respond negatively to conspecific density at the largest scales can cause long-term species coexistence. I assessed evidence for the dependence of seedling survival over 19 months on the abundance of conspecific trees and seedlings at both wide (150 ha) and local (0.16 ha and 1 m2) scales, in a species-rich Bornean rain forest. At the 150 ha scale, I identified a community-level compensatory trend in seedling survival: more abundant species had higher seedling mortality among the 149 species. There were parallel trends at the population level on a local scale. Vertebrate exclosures had little effect on seedling performance, but weak density dependence in seedlings’ pathogen-induced symptoms suggests that pathogens may be a source of the community compensatory pattern.

My advisor was David Peart.