BER launches Environmental System Science Program. Visit our new website under construction!

U.S. Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research

BER Research Highlights


Resource Acquisition and Reproductive Strategies of Tropical Forest in Response to the El Niño-Southern Oscillation
Published: March 02, 2018
Posted: June 26, 2018

Coordination between leaf and fruit phenology driven by a warm phase of ENSO.

The Science   
It has been suggested that tree phenology may be regulated by climatic oscillations. Here, a team a scientists from the Next-Generation Ecosystem Experiments (NGEE)–Tropics project present a 30-year tropical forest dataset that suggests leaf and fruit production is coordinated with El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) cycles, with greater leaf fall observed prior to El Niño, followed by greater seed production.

The Impact
The response of tropical forest to ENSO events and in general to drought and other environmental stresses is still under exploration. Here, they show a relatively strong response of tropical phenology (fruiting and leafing) to a warming phase of ENSO. This discovery can help in understanding the mechanisms of response or adaptation of plants to climate variability and pave the road to their implementation into Earth Ecosystem Models.

Summary
For the first time an interaction between phenophases of tropical plants (leafing and fruiting) is shown to be driven by large-scale periodic climate variations. This interaction mirrors the dynamics between dry and wet seasons, suggesting adaptive strategies to optimize reproduction and resource acquisition in response to environmental stress.

Contacts
BER Program Managers
Daniel Stover
Terrestrial Ecosystem Science, SC-23.1
Daniel.Stover@science.doe.gov (301-903-0289)

Dorothy Koch
SC-23.1
Dorothy.koch@science.doe.gov (301-903-0105)

Principal Investigator
Matteo Detto
Associate Researcher, Dept. of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Princeton University and Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
mdetto@princeton.edu

Funding
The Environmental Sciences Program of the Smithsonian Institution funded the data collection. M.D. was partially supported by the Next-Generation Ecosystem Experiments (NGEE)–Tropics project. Raul Rios, Brian Harvey, and Steven Paton collected the BCI climate data.

Publications
Detto, M., Wright, S.J., Calderón, O., & Muller-Landau, H.C. "Resource acquisition and reproductive strategies of tropical forest in response to the El Niño-Southern Oscillation." Nature Communications 9, 913 (2018). [DOI:10.1038/s41467-018-03306-9].

Related Links
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-018-03306-9

Topic Areas:

  • Research Area: Earth and Environmental Systems Modeling
  • Research Area: Next-Generation Ecosystem Experiments (NGEE)

Division: SC-33.1 Earth and Environmental Sciences Division, BER

 

BER supports basic research and scientific user facilities to advance DOE missions in energy and environment. More about BER

Recent Highlights

Mar 23, 2021
Molecular Connections from Plants to Fungi to Ants
Lipids transfer energy and serve as an inter-kingdom communication tool in leaf-cutter ants&rsqu [more...]

Mar 19, 2021
Microbes Use Ancient Metabolism to Cycle Phosphorus
Microbial cycling of phosphorus through reduction-oxidation reactions is older and more widespre [more...]

Feb 22, 2021
Warming Soil Means Stronger Microbe Networks
Soil warming leads to more complex, larger, and more connected networks of microbes in those soi [more...]

Jan 27, 2021
Labeling the Thale Cress Metabolites
New data pipeline identifies metabolites following heavy isotope labeling.

Analysis [more...]

Aug 31, 2020
Novel Bacterial Clade Reveals Origin of Form I Rubisco
Objectives

  • All plant biomass is sourced from the carbon-fixing enzyme Rub [more...]

List all highlights (possible long download time)