Modeling ecosystem functioning with precise plant data

Amélie Saillard and her team use the CI-202 Portable Laser Leaf Area Meter

Scott Trimble

September 6, 2021 at 9:21 am | Updated April 15, 2022 at 4:38 pm | 2 min read

Using leaf area data to measure the link between human activities, biodiversity, and climate change.

In conjunction with the LECA, PhyloAlps Project and Swiss Federal Research Institute (WSL), Amélie Saillard and her team measure functional traits throughout the Alps to model ecosystem functioning in order to better understand the link between human activities, biodiversity, and climate change. 

The researchers have gathered genetics information on each of the 3500 alpine vegetal species, and are working through analysis of important functional traits, including leaf area using the CI-202 Portable Laser Leaf Area Meter. Other traits measured include vegetative and reproductive height, carbon and nitrogen ratio, and Leaf Dry Matter Content. 

Using information gathered with tools like the CI-202, Louise and her team are making groundbreaking strides in understanding the capacity of plants to survive, colonize, and grow in specific habitats.

Additional Research/links: 

Ecography 2020, Camille Martinez et al. : Climate, soil resources and microbial activity shape the distributions of mountain plants based on their functional traits.

Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics 2020, Pavel Dan Turtureanu et al. : Biogeography of intraspecific trait variability in matgrass (Nardus stricta): High phenotypic variation at the local scale exceeds large scale variability patterns.

Journal of Ecology 2017, Luisa Conti et al. : Functionnal trait differences and trait plasticity mediate biotic resistance to potential plant invaders

Journal of Ecology 2017, Loïc Chalmandrier et al. : Spatial scale and intraspecific trait variability mediate assembly rules in alpine grasslands

Ecography 2012, Francesco de Bello et al. : Hierarchical effects of environmental filters on the functional structure of plant communities: a case study in the French Alps

Global Change Biology 2012, Isabelle Boulangeat et al. : Improving plant functional groups for dynamic models of biodiversity: at the crossroads between functional and community ecology

Functional Ecology 2010, Cécile Albert et al. : A multi-trait approach reveals the structure and the relative importance of intra vs interspecific variability in plant traits

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