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Daniel Falster

Daniel Falster
UNSW Sydney | UNSW · School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences (BEES)

About

89
Publications
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12,396
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Publications

Publications (89)
Article
Full-text available
Predictions of how vegetation responds to spatial and temporal differences in climate rely on established links with plant functional traits and vegetation types that can be encoded into Dynamic Global Vegetation Models. Individual traits have been linked to climate at species level and at community level within regions. However, a recent global as...
Article
Full-text available
We introduce the AusTraits database - a compilation of values of plant traits for taxa in the Australian flora (hereafter AusTraits). AusTraits synthesises data on 448 traits across 28,640 taxa from field campaigns, published literature, taxonomic monographs, and individual taxon descriptions. Traits vary in scope from physiological measures of per...
Article
Full-text available
Scope Proteaceae are an ecologically distinctive family, with largest radiations in the sclerophyll vegetation types of Australia and South Africa. This brief paper comments on Hayes et al. (2021), who have mapped leaf phosphorus concentration on to the phylogenetic tree for the family. Conclusions Considered across all seed plants worldwide, Prot...
Article
Full-text available
Ever since the web began, the number of websites has been growing exponentially. These websites cover an ever-increasing range of online services that fill a variety of social and economic functions across a growing range of industries. Yet the networked nature of the web, combined with the economics of preferential attachment, increasing returns a...
Article
In community ecology, it is widely assumed that organisms with similar traits compete more intensely with one another for resources. This assumption is often encoded into theory and empirical tests via a unimodal competition function, which predicts that per capita competitive effect declines with separation in traits. Yet it remains unknown how we...
Article
Questions The taxonomic and functional composition of plant communities capture different dimensions of diversity. Functional diversity (FD) – as calculated from species traits – typically increases with species richness in communities and is expected to be higher in less extreme environments, where a broader range of functional strategies can pers...
Preprint
Full-text available
We introduce the AusTraits database - a compilation of measurements of plant traits for taxa in the Australian flora (hereafter AusTraits). AusTraits synthesises data on 375 traits across 29230 taxa from field campaigns, published literature, taxonomic monographs, and individual taxa descriptions. Traits vary in scope from physiological measures of...
Article
Full-text available
Biomedical and clinical sciences are experiencing a renewed interest in the fact that males and females differ in many anatomic, physiological, and behavioral traits. Sex differences in trait variability, however, are yet to receive similar recognition. In medical science, mammalian females are assumed to have higher trait variability due to estrou...
Preprint
Full-text available
Biomedical and clinical sciences are experiencing a renewed interest in the fact that males and females differ in many anatomic, physiological, and behavioral traits. Sex differences in trait variability, however, are yet to receive similar recognition. In medical science, mammalian females are assumed to have higher trait variability due to estrus...
Article
Plants and vegetation play a critical—but largely unpredictable—role in global environmental changes due to the multitude of contributing processes at widely different spatial and temporal scales. In this Perspective, we explore approaches to master this complexity and improve our ability to predict vegetation dynamics by explicitly taking account...
Article
Full-text available
An amendment to this paper has been published and can be accessed via a link at the top of the paper.
Preprint
Ever since the web began, the number of websites has been growing exponentially. These websites cover an ever-increasing range of online services that fill a variety of social and economic functions across a growing range of industries. Yet the networked nature of the web, combined with the economics of preferential attachment, increasing returns a...
Article
Full-text available
Synthesizing trait observations and knowledge across the Tree of Life remains a grand challenge for biodiversity science. Species traits are widely used in ecological and evolutionary science, and new data and methods have proliferated rapidly. Yet accessing and integrating disparate data sources remains a considerable challenge, slowing progress t...
Article
Full-text available
The sharing and re-use of data has become a cornerstone of modern science. Multiple platforms now allow easy publication of datasets. So far, however, platforms for data sharing offer limited functions for distributing and interacting with evolving datasets— those that continue to grow with time as more records are added, errors fixed, and new data...
Article
Full-text available
Plant growth rates drive ecosystem productivity and are a central element of plant ecological strategies. For seedlings grown under controlled conditions, a large literature has firmly identified the functional traits that drive interspecific variation in growth rate. For adult plants, the corresponding knowledge is surprisingly poorly understood....
Preprint
Full-text available
Synthesising trait observations and knowledge across the Tree of Life remains a grand challenge for biodiversity science. Despite the well-recognised importance of traits for addressing ecological and evolutionary questions, trait-based approaches still struggle with several basic data requirements to deliver openly accessible, reproducible, and tr...
Article
Full-text available
Aim Information on the amount of carbon stored in the living tissue of tree stems (sapwood) is crucial for carbon and water cycle applications. Here, we aim to investigate sapwood‐to‐stem proportions and differences therein between tree genera and derive a sapwood biomass map. Location Northern Hemisphere boreal and temperate forests. Time period...
Article
Full-text available
Tree death drives population dynamics, nutrient cycling, and evolution within plant communities. Mortality variation across species is thought to be influenced by different factors relative to variation within species. The unified model provided here separates mortality rates into growth-dependent and growth-independent hazards. This model creates...
Article
Full-text available
Large variations in crown shape are observed across the globe, from plants with wide and deep crowns to those with leaves clustered at the top. While there have been advances in the large‐scale monitoring of forests, little is known about factors driving variations in crown shape with environmental conditions. Previous theoretical research suggests...
Article
While theoretical models predict reproductive allocation (RA) should approach 100% of available energy as a plant ages, available empirical data suggest much lower RA values in perennial plants. In this study, we have two aims. First, we assess whether the discrepancy between theory and data arises from methodological differences in how growth and...
Article
Plant species differ in many functional traits that drive differences in rates of photosynthesis, biomass allocation, and tissue turnover. However, it remains unclear how—and even if—such traits influence whole-plant growth, with the simple linear relationships predicted by existing theory often lacking empirical support. Here, we present a theoret...
Article
Branch formation in trees has an inherent tendency toward exponential growth, but exponential growth in the number of branches cannot continue indefinitely. It has been suggested that trees balance this tendency toward expansion by also losing branches grown in previous growth cycles. Here, we present a model for branch formation and branch loss du...
Article
Allocation of carbohydrates between competing organs is fundamental to plant development, growth and productivity. Carbohydrates are synthesized in mature leaves and distributed via the phloem vasculature to developing buds where they are consumed to produce new biomass. The distribution and mass-allocation processes within the plant remain poorly...
Article
Hundreds of species in one of Australia's dominant plant families, the Myrtaceae, are at risk from the invasive pathogenic fungus Austropuccinia psidii. Since its arrival in Australia in 2010, native plant communities have been severely affected, with highly susceptible species likely to go extinct due to recurring infections. While severe impact o...
Poster
Full-text available
Hundreds of species in one of Australia’s dominant plant families, the Myrtaceae, are at risk from the invasive pathogenic fungus Austropuccinia psidii. Since its arrival in Australia in 2010, native plant communities have been severely affected, with highly susceptible species likely to go extinct due to recurring infections. While severe impact o...
Preprint
Full-text available
Tree death is a fundamental process driving population dynamics, nutrient cycling, and evolution within plant communities. While past research has identified factors influencing tree mortality across a variety of scales, these distinct drivers are yet to be integrated within a unified predictive framework. In this study, we use a cross-validated Ba...
Preprint
Full-text available
The sharing and re-use of data has become a cornerstone of modern science. Multiple platforms now allow quick and easy data sharing. So far, however, data publishing models have not accommodated on-going scientific improvements in data: for many problems, datasets continue to grow with time -- more records are added, errors fixed, and new data stru...
Preprint
Full-text available
The sharing and re-use of data has become a cornerstone of modern science. Multiple platforms now allow quick and easy data sharing. So far, however, data publishing models have not accommodated on-going scientific improvements in data: for many problems, datasets continue to grow with time -- more records are added, errors fixed, and new data stru...
Preprint
Full-text available
Plant species differ in the amounts of energy allocated to different reproductive tissues, driving differences in their ecology and energy flows within ecosystems. While it is widely agreed that energy allocation is key to reproductive outcomes, few studies have estimated how reproductive effort (RE) is partitioned among different pools, for multip...
Article
Full-text available
To explain diversity in forests, niche theory must show how multiple plant species coexist while competing for the same resources. Although successional processes are widespread in forests, theoretical work has suggested that differentiation in successional strategy allows only a few species stably to coexist, including only a single shade tolerant...
Preprint
Plant species differ in many functional traits that drive differences in rates of photosynthesis, biomass allocation, and tissue turnover. Yet, it remains unclear how – and even if – such traits influence whole-plant growth, with the simple linear relationships predicted by existing theory often lacking empirical support. Here we present a new theo...
Article
Here, we aim to understand differences in biomass distribution between major woody plant functional types (PFTs) (deciduous vs evergreen and gymnosperm vs angiosperm) in terms of underlying traits, in particular the leaf mass per area (LMA) and leaf area per unit stem basal area. We used a large compilation of plant biomass and size observations, i...
Article
Full-text available
A plant's growth rate is seen as a central element of its ecological strategy, and as determined by its traits. Yet the literature is inconsistent about the empirical correlation between functional traits and growth, casting doubt on the capacity of some prominent traits to influence growth rate. We propose that traits should influence growth in a...
Article
Full-text available
Trait-based approaches advance ecological and evolutionary research because traits provide a strong link to an organism's function and fitness. Trait-based research might lead to a deeper understanding of the functions of, and services provided by, ecosystems, thereby improving management, which is vital in the current era of rapid environmental ch...
Article
Coral reefs are biologically diverse and ecologically complex ecosystems constructed by stony corals. Despite decades of research, basic coral population biology and community ecology questions remain. Quantifying trait variation among species can help resolve these questions, but progress has been hampered by a paucity of trait data for the many,...
Article
Full-text available
Phenotypic traits and their associated trade-offs have been shown to have globally consistent effects on individual plant physiological functions, but how these effects scale up to influence competition, a key driver of community assembly in terrestrial vegetation, has remained unclear. Here we use growth data from more than 3 million trees in over...
Article
Full-text available
Accurate ground-based estimation of the carbon stored in terrestrial ecosystems is critical to quantifying the global carbon budget. Allometric models provide cost-effective methods for biomass prediction. But do such models vary with ecoregion or plant functional type? We compiled 15,054 measurements of individual tree or shrub biomass from across...
Article
Full-text available
A plant's reproductive allocation (RA) schedule describes the fraction of surplus energy allocated to reproduction as it increases in size. While theorists use RA schedules as the connection between life history and energy allocation, little is known about RA schedules in real vegetation. Here we review what is known about RA schedules for perennia...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding how plants are constructed—i.e., how key size dimensions and the amount of mass invested in different tissues varies among individuals—is essential for modeling plant growth, carbon stocks, and energy fluxes in the terrestrial biosphere. Allocation patterns can differ through ontogeny, but also among coexisting species and among speci...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding how plants are constructed—i.e., how key size dimensions and the amount of mass invested in different tissues varies among individuals—is essential for modeling plant growth, carbon stocks, and energy fluxes in the terrestrial biosphere. Allocation patterns can differ through ontogeny, but also among coexisting species and among speci...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding how plants are constructed; i.e., how key size dimensions and the amount of mass invested in different tissues varies among individuals; is essential for modeling plant growth, estimating carbon stocks, and mapping energy fluxes in the terrestrial biosphere. Allocation patterns can differ through ontogeny, but also among coexisting sp...
Preprint
Full-text available
An enduring challenge in ecology is to understand how diverse plant species coexist when competing for the same basic resources. Two candidate frameworks for meeting this challenge currently exist in forest ecology. Niche-based approaches succeed in describing successional dynamics in response to recurrent disturbances. Approaches based on Hubbell'...
Article
Full-text available
We present a simple, generic model of annual tree growth, called "T". This model accepts input from a first-principles light-use efficiency model (the "P" model). The P model provides values for gross primary production (GPP) per unit of absorbed photosynthetically active radiation (PAR). Absorbed PAR is estimated from the current leaf area. GPP is...
Article
Full-text available
We present a simple, generic model of annual tree growth, called "T". This model accepts input from a first-principles light-use efficiency model (the P model). The P model provides values for Gross Primary Production (GPP) per unit of absorbed photosynthetically active radiation (PAR). Absorbed PAR is estimated from the current leaf area. GPP is a...
Article
Full-text available
1. Plant traits vary widely across species and underpin differences in ecological strategy. Despite centuries of interest, the contributions of different evolutionary lineages to modern-day functional diversity remain poorly quantified. 2. Expanding data bases of plant traits plus rapidly improving phylogenies enable for the first time a data-drive...
Article
Sapwood cross-sectional area per unit leaf area (SA:LA) is an influential trait that plants coordinate with physical environment and with other traits. We develop theory for SA:LA and also for root surface area per leaf area (RA:LA) on the premise that plants maximizing the surplus of revenue over costs should have competitive advantage. SA:LA is p...
Article
Full-text available
The contemporary relegation of conifers mainly to cold or infertile sites has been ascribed to low competitive ability, as a result of the hydraulic inefficiency of tracheids and their seedlings' initial dependence on small foliage areas. Here it is hypothesized that, in temperate rainforests, the larger leaves of angiosperms also reduce self-shadi...
Article
1. The Standardised Major Axis Tests and Routines (SMATR) software provides tools for estimation and inference about allometric lines, currently widely used in ecology and evolution. 2. This paper describes some significant improvements to the functionality of the package, now available on R in smatr version 3. 3. New inclusions in the package in...
Article
• Co-occurring species often differ in their leaf lifespan (LL) and it remains unclear how such variation is maintained in a competitive context. Here we test the hypothesis that leaves of long-LL species yield a greater return in carbon (C) fixed per unit C or nutrient invested by the plant than those of short-LL species. • For 10 sympatric woodla...
Article
• Plant light interception efficiency is a crucial determinant of carbon uptake by individual plants and by vegetation. Our aim was to identify whole-plant variables that summarize complex crown architecture, which can be used to predict light interception efficiency. • We gathered the largest database of digitized plants to date (1831 plants of 12...
Article
1. Numerous plant traits are known to influence aspects of individual performance, including rates of carbon uptake, tissue turnover, mortality and fecundity. These traits are bound to influence emergent properties of vegetation because quantities such as leaf-area cover, average height, primary productivity and density of standing biomass result f...
Article
Full-text available
The question of whether natural selection favors genetic stability or genetic variability is a fundamental problem in evolutionary biology. Bioinformatic analyses demonstrate that selection favors genetic stability by avoiding unstable nucleotide sequences in protein encoding DNA. Yet, such unstable sequences are maintained in several DNA repair ge...
Article
Woody stems comprise a large biological carbon fraction and determine water transport between roots and leaves; their structure and function can influence both carbon and hydrological cycles. While angiosperm wood anatomy and density determine hydraulic conductivity and mechanical strength, little is known about interrelations across many species....
Article
Full-text available
* Here, we evaluated how increased shading and declining net photosynthetic capacity regulate the decline in net carbon balance with increasing leaf age for 10 Australian woodland species. We also asked whether leaves at the age of their mean life-span have carbon balances that are positive, zero or negative. * The net carbon balances of 2307 leave...
Article
Abstract • Rees & Venable (2007; Journal of Ecology, 95, 926–936) correctly identified scaling relations across species between offspring size at independence and adult size as patterns needing theoretical explanation. They also correctly identified that Charnov's (1993; Life History Invariants, Oxford University Press) model did not provide an ade...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding evolutionary coordination among different life-history traits is a key challenge for ecology and evolution. Here we develop a general quantitative model predicting how offspring size should scale with adult size by combining a simple model for life-history evolution with a frequency-dependent survivorship model. The key innovation is...