Interspecific relationships among growth, mortality and xylem traits of woody species from New Zealand

Sabrina Russo, Kerry Jenkins, Susan Wiser, Maria Uriarte, Richard Duncan, David Coomes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

68 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

1. Wood density is considered a key functional trait influencing the growth and survival of woody plants and has been shown to be related to a slow–fast rate-of-living continuum. Wood density is, however, an emergent trait arising from several vascular properties of wood, including the diameter and frequency of xylem conduits. 2. We aimed to test the hypotheses that there is a set of inter-related trade-offs linked to the different functions of wood, that these trade-offs have direct consequences for tree growth and survival and that these trade-offs underlie the observed correlations between wood density and demographic rates. We evaluated the covariation between xylem anatomical traits among woody species of New Zealand and whether that covariation had the potential to constrain variation in wood density and demographic rates. 3. Several xylem traits were strongly correlated with each other, but wood density was not correlated with any of them. We also found no significant relationships between wood density and growth or mortality rate. Instead, growth was strongly related to xylem traits associated with hydraulic capacity (conduit diameter and a conductivity index) and to maximum height, whereas mortality rate was strongly correlated only with maximum height. The diameter and frequency of conduits exhibited a significant negative relationship, suggesting a trade-off, which restricted variation in wood density and growth rate, but not mortality rate. 4. Our results suggest, for woody species in New Zealand, that growth rate is more closely linked to xylem traits determining hydraulic conductance, rather than wood density. We also found no evidence that denser woods conferred higher survival, or that risk of cavitation caused by wide conduits increased mortality. 5. In summary, we found little support for the idea that wood density is a good proxy for position along a fast–slow rate-of-living continuum. Instead, the strong, negative relationship between vessel diameter and frequency may constrain the realized diversity of demographic niches of tree species in New Zealand. Trade-offs in function therefore have the potential to shape functional diversity and ecology of forest communities by linking selection on structure and function to population-level dynamics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253-262
Number of pages10
JournalFunctional Ecology
Volume24
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes

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wood density
xylem
mortality
demographic statistics
fluid mechanics
wood properties
functional diversity
forest communities
xylem vessels
growth traits
hydraulics
woody plants
blood vessels
tree growth
cavitation
niches
woody plant
trade-off
ecology
niche

Cite this

Russo, Sabrina ; Jenkins, Kerry ; Wiser, Susan ; Uriarte, Maria ; Duncan, Richard ; Coomes, David. / Interspecific relationships among growth, mortality and xylem traits of woody species from New Zealand. In: Functional Ecology. 2010 ; Vol. 24. pp. 253-262.
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abstract = "1. Wood density is considered a key functional trait influencing the growth and survival of woody plants and has been shown to be related to a slow–fast rate-of-living continuum. Wood density is, however, an emergent trait arising from several vascular properties of wood, including the diameter and frequency of xylem conduits. 2. We aimed to test the hypotheses that there is a set of inter-related trade-offs linked to the different functions of wood, that these trade-offs have direct consequences for tree growth and survival and that these trade-offs underlie the observed correlations between wood density and demographic rates. We evaluated the covariation between xylem anatomical traits among woody species of New Zealand and whether that covariation had the potential to constrain variation in wood density and demographic rates. 3. Several xylem traits were strongly correlated with each other, but wood density was not correlated with any of them. We also found no significant relationships between wood density and growth or mortality rate. Instead, growth was strongly related to xylem traits associated with hydraulic capacity (conduit diameter and a conductivity index) and to maximum height, whereas mortality rate was strongly correlated only with maximum height. The diameter and frequency of conduits exhibited a significant negative relationship, suggesting a trade-off, which restricted variation in wood density and growth rate, but not mortality rate. 4. Our results suggest, for woody species in New Zealand, that growth rate is more closely linked to xylem traits determining hydraulic conductance, rather than wood density. We also found no evidence that denser woods conferred higher survival, or that risk of cavitation caused by wide conduits increased mortality. 5. In summary, we found little support for the idea that wood density is a good proxy for position along a fast–slow rate-of-living continuum. Instead, the strong, negative relationship between vessel diameter and frequency may constrain the realized diversity of demographic niches of tree species in New Zealand. Trade-offs in function therefore have the potential to shape functional diversity and ecology of forest communities by linking selection on structure and function to population-level dynamics.",
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Interspecific relationships among growth, mortality and xylem traits of woody species from New Zealand. / Russo, Sabrina; Jenkins, Kerry; Wiser, Susan; Uriarte, Maria; Duncan, Richard; Coomes, David.

In: Functional Ecology, Vol. 24, 2010, p. 253-262.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Interspecific relationships among growth, mortality and xylem traits of woody species from New Zealand

AU - Russo, Sabrina

AU - Jenkins, Kerry

AU - Wiser, Susan

AU - Uriarte, Maria

AU - Duncan, Richard

AU - Coomes, David

PY - 2010

Y1 - 2010

N2 - 1. Wood density is considered a key functional trait influencing the growth and survival of woody plants and has been shown to be related to a slow–fast rate-of-living continuum. Wood density is, however, an emergent trait arising from several vascular properties of wood, including the diameter and frequency of xylem conduits. 2. We aimed to test the hypotheses that there is a set of inter-related trade-offs linked to the different functions of wood, that these trade-offs have direct consequences for tree growth and survival and that these trade-offs underlie the observed correlations between wood density and demographic rates. We evaluated the covariation between xylem anatomical traits among woody species of New Zealand and whether that covariation had the potential to constrain variation in wood density and demographic rates. 3. Several xylem traits were strongly correlated with each other, but wood density was not correlated with any of them. We also found no significant relationships between wood density and growth or mortality rate. Instead, growth was strongly related to xylem traits associated with hydraulic capacity (conduit diameter and a conductivity index) and to maximum height, whereas mortality rate was strongly correlated only with maximum height. The diameter and frequency of conduits exhibited a significant negative relationship, suggesting a trade-off, which restricted variation in wood density and growth rate, but not mortality rate. 4. Our results suggest, for woody species in New Zealand, that growth rate is more closely linked to xylem traits determining hydraulic conductance, rather than wood density. We also found no evidence that denser woods conferred higher survival, or that risk of cavitation caused by wide conduits increased mortality. 5. In summary, we found little support for the idea that wood density is a good proxy for position along a fast–slow rate-of-living continuum. Instead, the strong, negative relationship between vessel diameter and frequency may constrain the realized diversity of demographic niches of tree species in New Zealand. Trade-offs in function therefore have the potential to shape functional diversity and ecology of forest communities by linking selection on structure and function to population-level dynamics.

AB - 1. Wood density is considered a key functional trait influencing the growth and survival of woody plants and has been shown to be related to a slow–fast rate-of-living continuum. Wood density is, however, an emergent trait arising from several vascular properties of wood, including the diameter and frequency of xylem conduits. 2. We aimed to test the hypotheses that there is a set of inter-related trade-offs linked to the different functions of wood, that these trade-offs have direct consequences for tree growth and survival and that these trade-offs underlie the observed correlations between wood density and demographic rates. We evaluated the covariation between xylem anatomical traits among woody species of New Zealand and whether that covariation had the potential to constrain variation in wood density and demographic rates. 3. Several xylem traits were strongly correlated with each other, but wood density was not correlated with any of them. We also found no significant relationships between wood density and growth or mortality rate. Instead, growth was strongly related to xylem traits associated with hydraulic capacity (conduit diameter and a conductivity index) and to maximum height, whereas mortality rate was strongly correlated only with maximum height. The diameter and frequency of conduits exhibited a significant negative relationship, suggesting a trade-off, which restricted variation in wood density and growth rate, but not mortality rate. 4. Our results suggest, for woody species in New Zealand, that growth rate is more closely linked to xylem traits determining hydraulic conductance, rather than wood density. We also found no evidence that denser woods conferred higher survival, or that risk of cavitation caused by wide conduits increased mortality. 5. In summary, we found little support for the idea that wood density is a good proxy for position along a fast–slow rate-of-living continuum. Instead, the strong, negative relationship between vessel diameter and frequency may constrain the realized diversity of demographic niches of tree species in New Zealand. Trade-offs in function therefore have the potential to shape functional diversity and ecology of forest communities by linking selection on structure and function to population-level dynamics.

KW - functional traits

KW - New Zealand forests

KW - phylogenetic comparative methods

KW - tradeoffs

KW - tree maximum height

KW - tree diameter growth rate

KW - tree mortality rate

KW - vessel and tracheid properties

KW - wood density.

U2 - 10.1111/j.1365-2435.2009.01670.x

DO - 10.1111/j.1365-2435.2009.01670.x

M3 - Article

VL - 24

SP - 253

EP - 262

JO - Functional Ecology

JF - Functional Ecology

SN - 0269-8463

ER -