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Intraspecific Traits: Uncovering Mechanisms Driving Forest Dynamics

Speaker: Dr. María Natalia Umaña, University of Michigan

Forests play a crucial role in mitigating the impact of climate change by absorbing and storing CO2 from the atmosphere. Anticipating impacts of climate change requires understanding the processes that maintain forest dynamics.

While it is well known that these processes ultimately emerge from interactions among individuals and their variation in performance (e.g., growth and survival), attempts to uncover these mechanisms have traditionally ignored the consideration of within-species variation, instead relying on average differences across species. In this seminar, I will present research studies that challenge this traditional approach, emphasizing the importance of within-species processes in determining the dynamics of current and future forest communities. The focus of my research is on species-rich tropical forests in Colombia and Puerto Rico.