Light limitation as a factor in ecological conditions

Thursday, July 27, 2017 - 09:02 in Biology & Nature

There's a 50-hectare forested plot in Panama where researchers with the Smithsonian Institution have gathered highly detailed information about the species, distribution, and size of trees there. In a 2016 study, researchers proposed that those particular characteristics, and the forest's total metabolic rate, was limited by light. But a recent paper published in Global Ecology and Biogeography by SFI External Professor John Harte, SFI Omidyar Fellow Andy Rominger, and Erica Newman, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Arizona, suggests that a far simpler model, independent of mechanistic drivers, can also accurately describe that forest, as well as other natural systems and communities.

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