September 14, 2012

The Story of Asia’s Elephants, by CTFS-SIGEO Researcher Raman Sukumar

In his new book The Story of Asia’s Elephants, Raman Sukumar examines the important relationship between the elephant and man in Asia.  Although the fields of art history, literary scholarship, and archaeology have documented the relationship, until now there has been no comprehensive account of this rich story.  The book examines elephant-human interaction in Asia from prehistory, Vedic literature, the Mauryan empire, the Buddhist and Jain world, to the elephant under Hindu rulers, the Islamic world, Colonial and independent Asia.  The final chapter discusses the elephant’s ecology and behavior, and conservation issues. The book contains 250 color images of the Asian elephant in nature and in the arts.

Raman Sukumar is Professor and Chairman of the Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore.  A leading expert on the Asian elephant, he has written several books on its ecology and conservation.  He also works on climate change and tropical forest ecology, and is PI of the CTFS Mudumalai plot in India.

The book is published by The Marg Foundation (2012), ISBN: 9789380581101.

July 27, 2012

CTFS-SIGEO Ecologist Appointed: Kristina Anderson-Teixeira

We are pleased to announce that Dr. Kristina Anderson-Teixeira has joined the Center for Tropical Forest Science- Smithsonian Institution Global Earth Observatory in the position of Ecosystem Ecologist. Kristina’s appointment is a joint appointment between CTFS-SIGEO and the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI). She will be based at SCBI in Front Royal, Virginia.

Dr. Kristina Anderson-Teixeira
Kristina received her B.S. in Biology cum laude from Wheaton College in Wheaton, IL, and her Ph.D. from the University of New Mexico. She has been a postdoctoral research associate at the University of New Mexico, as well as at the University of Illinois, under Evan H. DeLucia. She also worked as a Senior Research Scientist at Global Change Solutions, LLC. Kristina describes herself as a broadly thinking ecologist specializing in terrestrial ecosystem ecology, global change ecology, and sustainability. Her approach combines data synthesis and analysis, theoretical ecology, and field research and focuses on understanding how climate--and climate change--shapes ecosystems, and how ecosystems in turn regulate climate. She is also involved in interdisciplinary and international research applying this knowledge to inform sustainable land use decisions in an era of climate change. CTFS-SIGEO welcomes Kristina and looks forward to her contributions to the network.

July 26, 2012

Collaboration Between Smithsonian and Bradley University Strengthens Through Participation in 2012 CTFS-SIGEO Workshop

In 2006, CTFS and Bradley University began a collaboration that has greatly improved the CTFS database, and has simultaneously produced significant learning outcomes for a select group of talented Bradley Capstone students. Now going into its seventh year, the alliance has engaged 27 students and owes its success to a strong partnership between CTFS-SIGEO Senior Scientist Richard Condit and Bradley University’s Professor Steven Dolins, who leads the Capstone Course. This summer, Dolins joins CTFS-SIGEO’s Dimensions of Biodiversity Workshop in Seattle, Washington, along with Research Assistant Anudeep Singh MS ‘09, and rising senior Steven McHenry, who will be taking Dr. Dolins’ Capstone Class in the 2012-2013 school year.

The outcomes of the partnership have been apparent each year that this course has been offered. In its first year, students focused on making basic improvements to the CTFS database design in order to better track and report the tree species found at BCI. In subsequent years, students worked to build and improve the database’s graphical user interface (GUI) for data entry, generalizing the database for all CTFS-SIGEO plots, and streamlining ways for scientists who aren’t well-versed in R to analyze data. Dr. Dolins said, “Each one of these projects have provided students with excellent real world, experiential learning opportunities. Students had to learn a new domain, interact with domain experts, and produce deliverables. They are much better prepared for their future careers in software and database development.”

Dr. Dolins is looking forward to sharing their current work with the 50 participants of the CTFS Workshop. His group will present its on-going work on data entry and the new user interface, with hopes of getting feedback directly from the users. They will also present future work ideas, such as visualization, data mining, and other analytical tools.

Database working group from left to right: Anudeep Singh, Steven McHenry, Richard Condit, and Steven Dolins

June 14, 2012

Prestigious Award Given to CTFS-SIGEO Associate Researcher Nate Swenson for Promising Research on Species Distributions

Nate Swenson, Assistant Professor at the Department of Plant Biology, Michigan State University and CTFS-SIGEO Associate Researcher has been awarded this year’s €30,000 Ebbe Nielsen Prize, funded by the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF). Swenson’s research will contribute to a better understanding of how plants respond to climate change.

The Ebbe Nielsen Prize, named in memory of the Danish-Australian scientist whose work helped to inspire GBIF and who died shortly before its establishment, is awarded annually to researchers in the early stages of their careers who combine biosystematics and biodiversity informatics research in novel ways. Swenson’s research will use data published through GBIF and data from the iPlant Tree of Life program for a large-scale analysis to study the evolution of climatic niches in plants. The analysis will be carried out jointly with Dr. Jens-Christian Svenning (the 2011 Ebbe Nielsen Prize winner) and the Ecoinformatics and Biodiversity Groups at the Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University, Denmark. In a statement submitted during his nomination, Swenson says, “We could quantify how quickly or slowly climatic niches evolve in seed plants. The findings would have direct implications for our understanding of how plants may or may not respond to temporal changes in global climate.”

CTFS-SIGEO Associate Researcher Nate Swenson
Speaking about Swenson’s selection, the chair of the GBIF Science Committee, Leonard Krishtalka, said, “The GBIF Science Committee recognized Swenson’s innovative research and informatics tools that deploy biodiversity data – the kind provided globally by GBIF – to better understand the interaction between climate dynamics and complex ecological and evolutionary mechanisms. Ultimately, his work serves science and society, and advances biodiversity informatics to inform environmental analyses and policy.”

The Global Biodiversity Information Facility was established by governments in 2001 to encourage free and open access to biodiversity data, via the Internet. Through a global network of countries and organizations, GBIF promotes and facilitates the mobilization, access, discovery, and use of information about the occurrence of organisms over time and across the planet.

May 18, 2012

Publications: February 2012 - April 2012

Da-Yong Zhang, Bo-Yu Zhang, Kui Lin, Xinhua Jiang, Yi Tao, Stephen Hubbell, Fangliang He, and Annette Ostling.  2012. Demographic trade-offs determine species abundance and diversity. Journal of Plant Ecology 5(1):82-88
He, Fangliang, Da-Yong Zhang, and Hui Lin. 2012. Coexistence of nearly neutral species. Journal of Plant Ecology 5(1): 72-81
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Katabuchi, M., H. Kurokawa, S.J. Davies, S. Tan and T. Nakashizuka, T. 2012. Soil resource availability shapes community trait structure in a species-rich dipterocarp forest. Journal of Ecology 100:643-651.
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Lutz, James A., Andrew J. Larson, Mark E. Swanson, and James A. Freund. 2012. Ecological Importance of Large-Diameter Trees in a Temperate Mixed-Conifer Forest.  PLoS ONE 7(5):e36131.

Román-Dañobeytia, Francisco J., Samuel I. Levy-Tacher, James Aronson, Ricardo Ribeiro Rodrigues, and Jorge Castellanos-Albores. 2012. Testing the Performance of Fourteen Native Tropical Tree Species in Two Abandoned Pastures of the Lacandon Rainforest Region of Chiapas, Mexico. Restoration Ecology 20(3):378-386.

Rosindell, J., P.A. Jansen, and R.S. Etienne. 2012. Age structure in neutral theory resolves inconsistencies related to reproductive-size threshold. Journal of Plant Ecology 5(1):64-71.

Rüger, N. and R. Condit. 2012. Testing metabolic theory with models of tree growth that include light competition. Functional Ecology doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2435.2012.01981.x
Russo, S.E., L. Zhang and S. Tan. 2012. Covariation between understorey light environments and soil resources in Bornean mixed dipterocarp rain forest. Journal of Tropical Ecology 28:33–44.

Swenson, N.G., J.C. Stegen, S.J. Davies, D.L. Erickson, J. Forero-Montaña, A.H. Hurlbert, W.J. Kress, J. Thompson, M. Uriarte, and J.K. Zimmerman. 2012. Temporal turnover in the composition of tropical tree communities: functional determinism and phylogenetic stochasticity. Ecology 93:490-499.

Uriarte, María, James S. Clark, Jess K. Zimmerman, Liza C. Comita, Jimena Forero-Montaña, and Jill Thompson. 2012. Multidimensional trade-offs in species responses to disturbance: implications for diversity in a subtropical forest. Ecology 93(1):191-205.
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Zimmermann, A., T. Franke, and H. Elsenbeer. 2012. Forests and erosion: Insights from a study of suspended-sediment dynamics in an overland flow-prone rainforest catchment. Journal of Hydrology 428:170-181.

April 24, 2012

CTFS-SIGEO Welcomes Indiana University Forest Dynamics Plot to Global Network

Indiana University researchers joined CTFS-SIGEO in April, 2012, increasing the scope and impact of the sizable temperate plot network. Stuart Davies, CTFS-SIGEO Director, is very pleased about the new addition, "This provides an important new site for the network. By expanding the spatial coverage of forest observatories in the US our ability to understand the role that temperate forest ecosystems play in the global environment will be greatly enhanced.

The research will take place at Lilly-Dickey Woods, a 220-hectare forest in Brown County, Indiana, valued as an important central hardwoods forest. Human management has been minimal for the last 150 years, and parts of the Woods contain some of the largest trees to be found in Indiana forests. The forest lies near the center of the Nature Conservancy's Brown County Hills region, targeted as a prime location for forest conservation. Lilley-Dickey Woods was designated as part of the Indiana University Research and Teaching Preserve (IURTP) in 2003. The IURTP maintains natural field settings to enhance the research, teaching, and service mission of Indiana University.

PI Keith Clay in the Lilley-Dickey Woods of Indiana
IU's involvement with STRI evolved from the PhD research of Daniel Johnson, graduate student in the Department of Biology. "I wanted to start a project for my PhD thesis that would outlast my time here at IU," says Johnson. Thus far, the project has been funded by the IURTP, the Indiana Academy of Sciences and the National Science Foundation. Johnson will continue to lead the project until he completes his degree next year. Keith Clay (Professor of Biology and Director of the IURTP) and Richard Phillips (Assistant Professor of Biology) will oversee the initiative. Johnson has completed 9 hectares of the initial survey and the CTFS-SIGEO collaboration will increase the area of study to 25 hectares. 
Graduate student Daniel Johnson follows CTFS-SIGEO protocol for measuring trees
Keith Clay (Johnson's graduate advisor), when asked about the project, responded, "This is an enormous undertaking. Dan will be creating a substantial legacy. The CTFS-SIGEO plot will not only provide a resource for future environmental science research at IU, but the data collected will be used by scientists throughout the world to answer critical questions about climate change and other environmental issues. This project will spotlight the value of IURTP resources to the university and the global scientific community." 

February 10, 2012

Publications: October 2011- January 2012

Alvarez, E., Duque, A., Saldarriaga, J., Cabrera, K., de las Salas, G., del Valle, I., Lema, A., Moreno, F., Orrego, S., Rodriquez, L., 2011. Tree above-ground biomass allometries for carbon stock estimation in the natural forests of Colombia. Forest Ecology and Management, 267 (2012):297-203.
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Heartsill Scalley, T., Crowl, T.A., and Thompson, J., 2009. Tree species distributions in relation to stream distance in a mid-montane wet forest, Puerto Rico. Caribbean Journal of Science 45 (1): 52-63.
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Iida, Y., Poorter, L., Sterck, F. J., Kassim, A. R., Kubo, T., Potts, M. D. and Kohyama, T. S., 2012. Wood density explains architectural differentiation across 145 co-occurring tropical tree species. Functional Ecology, 26 (1):274-282.
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Jansen, Patrick, 2011. The roles of vertebrates in forest dynamics: A new CTFS program. Proceedings of the Pasoh International Symposium, 10-11 November 2010, Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM), Selangor.
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Kamiya, Koichi, Gan, Yik Yuen, Lum, Shawn K. Y., Khoo, Min Sheng, Chua, Siew Chin, Faizu, Nik N. H., 2011. Morphological and molecular evidence of natural hybridization in Shorea (Dipterocarpaceae). Tree Genetics & Genomes, 7:297–306.
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Kanagaraj, R., Wiegand, T., Comita, L. S. and Huth, A., 2011. Tropical tree species assemblages in topographical habitats change in time and with life stage. Journal of Ecology, 99:1441–1452.
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Kays, Roland, Jansen, Patrick A., Knecht, Elise M.H., Vohwinkel, Reinhard, and Wikelski, Martin, 2011. The effect of feeding time on dispersal of Virola seeds by toucans determined from GPS tracking and accelerometers. Acta Oecologica 37:625-631.
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Kays, Roland, Tilak, Sameer, Kranstauber, Bart, Jansen, Patrick A., Carbone, Chris, Rowcliffe, Marcus, Fountain, Tony, Eggert, Jay, and He, Zhihai, 2011. Camera Traps as Sensor Networks for Monitoring Animal Communities. International Journal of Research and Reviews in Wireless Sensor Networks (IJRRWSN), 1(2), June 2011.
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Makana, Jean-Remy, Ewamgo, Corneille N., McMahon, Sean M., Thomas, Sean C., Hart, Terese B., and Condit, Richard, 2011. Demography and biomass change in monodominant and mixed old-growth forest of the Congo. Journal of Tropical Ecology, 27:447-461.
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Martin, Adam R., Stedman, Elvis R., and Thomas, Sean C., 2011. Size-dependent changes in light requirements of tropical trees: weak light-growth relationships in seven Caribbean rainforest species preclude testing a general hypothesis. Journal of Negative Results - Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, 8:6-17.
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Rowcliffe, J. Marcus, Carbone, Chris, Jansen, Patrick A., Kays, Roland, and Kranstauber, Bart, 2011. Quantifying the sensitivity of camera traps: an adapted distance sampling approach. Methods in Ecology and Evolution, 2:464-476.
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Saner, P., Loh, Y.Y, Ong, R.C., Hector, A., 2012. Carbon Stocks and Fluxes in Tropical Lowland Dipterocarp Rainforests in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo. PLoS ONE 7(1): e29642.
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Šizling, Arnošt L., Kunin, William E., Šizlingová, Eva, Reif, Jiří, and Storch, David Storch, 2011. Between Geometry and Biology: The Problem of Universality of the Species-Area Relationship. The American Naturalist, 178(5):602-611.
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Stephenson, Nathan L., van Mantgem, Phillip J., Bunn, Andrew G., Bruner, Howard, Harmon, Mark E., O’Connell, Kari B., Urban, Dean L., and Franklin, Jerry F., 2011. Causes and implications of the correlation between forest productivity and tree mortality rates. Ecological Monographs, 81(4):527–555.
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Uriarte, Maria, Yackulic, Charles B., Lim, Yili, and Arce-Nazario, Javier, 2011. Influence of land use on water quality in a tropical landscape: a multi-scale analysis. Landscape Ecology, 26:1151–1164.
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van Breugel, Michiel, van Breugel, Paulo, Jansen, Patrick A., Martinez Ramos, Miguel, and Bongers, Frans, 2012. The relative importance of above- versus belowground competition for tree growth during early succession of a tropical moist forest. Plant Ecology, 213:25-34.
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Visser, M. D., Muller-Landau, H. C., Wright, S. J., Rutten, G. and Jansen, P. A., 2011.
Tri-trophic interactions affect density dependence of seed fate in a tropical forest palm. Ecology Letters, 14:1093–1100.
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Wang, Xugao Wang, Wiegand, Thorsten, Wolf, Amy, Howe, Robert, Davies, Stuart J., and Hao, Zhanqing Hao, 2011. Spatial patterns of tree species richness in two temperate forests. Journal of Ecology, 99:1382–1393.
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Yackulic, Charles B., Fagan, Matthew, Jain, Meha, Jina, Amir, Lim, Yili, Marlier, Miriam, Muscarella, Robert, Adame, Patricia, DeFries, Ruth, and Uriarte, Marie, 2011. Biophysical and Socioeconomic Factors Associated with Forest Transitions at Multiple Spatial and Temporal Scales. Ecology and Society, 16(3):15.
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