Randall W. Myster

Randall W. Myster
Oklahoma State University - Oklahoma City | OSU-OKC · Department of Biology

Ph.D

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138
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Publications (138)
Article
Background: The Amazon basin contains mainly unflooded forests, and they are among the most important ecosystems in the world. Field experiments on seed processes are very important in order to understand the structure, function and dynamics of these forests. Methods: And so tree seeds of three species (Cecropia latiloba, Guarea macrophylla, Socrat...
Book
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A book focused solely on Andean Cloud Forests (ACF) has never been published. ACF are high biodiversity ecosystems in the Neotropics with a large proportion of endemic species, and are important for the hydrology of entire regions. They provide water for large parts of the Amazon basin, for example. Here I take advantage of my many years working in...
Article
The Andean cloud forest is a critical part of the Neotropics and much of its structure, function and dynamics are in response to both natural and human-caused disturbances. Those natural disturbances include landslides, and tree death leading to trees falling and creating gaps in the canopy. The human-caused disturbances include logging, mining, ro...
Article
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Igapó forests are a key part of the Amazon. And so, it is important to know their floristics and physical structure, and how they may be influenced by their soil. The floristics and physical structure of 16 primary [1o] and secondary [2o] igapó forest plots in Loreto Province, Peru was described and linear regressions were computed to explore wheth...
Chapter
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Within many plant communities, the action of aqueous solutions such as rain, dew, mist and fog easily leach various compounds out of plant biomass and necromass (mainly fallen leaves: Tukey 1970) creating “black-water”. This leaching process is analogous to boiling leaves for black tea. The leached compounds are both organic and inorganic and inclu...
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Background: Gradients and disturbances affect plant communities. Cloud forests exist on elevational gradients and are often disturbed by being cleared for agriculture, so they present a unique opportunity for the investigation of how gradients and disturbances affect their structure, function and dynamics. The focus of the current study was on seed...
Article
The Amazon contains some of the most critical ecosystems on earth and Igapó forests are one of those ecosystems. They are flooded by “black-water”, leached runoff of forest litter. To help in our understanding of igapó forests, and to act as a resource for their future research, I review what we know about their composition and structure. I used my...
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The importance of unflooded forests in the Amazon and the need to investigate how their soils affect their floristics and stand structure, lead me to set up and sampled trees in four plots in terra firme forest, in white sand forest and in palm forest at the same site in the Peruvian Amazon. I found (1) the white sand forest plot had 15 families wi...
Article
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Motivation: The BioTIME database contains raw data on species identities and abundances in ecological assemblages through time. These data enable users to calculate temporal trends in biodiversity within and amongst assemblages using a broad range of metrics. BioTIME is being developed as a community led open-source database of biodiversity time se...
Article
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Current models of plant community dynamics have fallen short both of conceptualizing plant communities well and of giving researchers a tool that accurately predicts their dynamics. Here I present a new idea of how that conceptual model should be constructed. I begin with the observation that space is a critical component of plant life and how it c...
Book
Igapó forests are a common part of the Amazon whose ecosystems are critical to our shared human future. The introduction addresses the structure, function and dynamics of igapó forests in the Amazon basin, focusing on their uniqueness due to their high level of complexity defined as the many ways that different components of igapó forests in the Am...
Chapter
The Amazon is more than just a river, a basin, or a rain forest. For our species, it provides not just food and various ecosystem services and products (Fig. 17.1) but also nourishes our cultures, our emotions, and our psyches as part of our shared human consciousness (Fig. 17.2). In Chap. 1, I presented igapó forests as among the most stressed eco...
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Background Cloud forests are common in the Neotropics and an important part of its hydrological cycle. An investigation on how elevation and recovery from agriculture affects cloud forest floristics and physical structure in Ecuador was undertaken. Methods Species and diameter at a specified height (dsh) of trees were sampled in large plots in Maqu...
Article
Because of the importance of the Amazon to our shared human future and because we need to understand how its forests regenerate, I set out seeds for a week in igapó, palm, terra firme, várzea and white sand forests and then collected them, scoring seed losses to predators, seed losses to pathogens and seeds that germinated. I found (1) terra firme...
Article
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The role of the seed rain in affecting recruitment, regeneration, and plant community dynamics continues to be debated. Studies show that seed limitation for recruitment is more likely as ecosystems become colder and more species-poor, as in boreal forests, and for species that have large seeds and short-lived seed banks. Even if there is a limitin...
Book
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The Amazon Basin contains the largest and most diverse tropical rainforest in the world. Besides the Andes and the Atlantic Ocean, the rainforest is bounded to the north by the Guiana crystalline shield and to the south by the Brazilian crystalline shield, marked at their edges by cataracts in the rivers and often dominated by grasslands. This book...
Chapter
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This conclusion presents some closing thoughts on the key concepts discussed in the previous chapters of this book. The book focuses on the higher-order complexity and interactively-linked nature of the various ecosystem components within the Western Amazonian rainforest and how it affects us. It discusses the primary importance of permanent plots...
Chapter
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This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book is motivated not just by the Amazon’s scientific interest but also by its role in these various ecosystem functions critical to life on Earth. It highlights several of its interactive and higher-order linkages among both abiotic an...
Article
Species turnover is a key parameter influencing dynamics of species in a community. Here I explore relationships between temporal species turnover and productivity and between temporal species turnover and richness in an abandoned pasture in Puerto Rico. Permanent plot data collected in the pasture over the first 10 years after abandonment were use...
Article
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Aquí reviso lo que sabemos sobre la estructura física de los bosques en la cuenca del Amazonas. Aunque los bosques de la cuenca del Amazonas se encuentran entre los ecosistemas más importantes de la Tierra, que son poco muestreadas, descritos o conocidos. Esta opinión es motivado por la falta de conocimiento, y también intenta tanto para agregar un...
Article
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In order to understand how the seed rain differs among Amazonian forests, I sampled the seed rain in six different forest types across the Amazonian landscape. I set up seed traps and took seed samples in three unflooded forests (terra firme, white sand-varillal, palm) and three white-water flooded forests (high restinga, low restinga, tahaumpa) in...
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Because the fate of the seed rain has long been shown to be critical to understanding forest recruitment and regeneration, seed predation, seed pathogens and germination among different species was examined in primary (closed-canopy vs. tree-fall gap) and in secondary (banana vs. sugarcane vs. seeded pasture) cloud forest at Maquipucuna Reserve, Ec...
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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...
Article
Full-text available
To better understand how flooding and tree fall structure forests in the Amazon, I sampled vegetation plots within three blackwater forests (least flooded, medium flooded, highest flooded) and their tree fall gaps in the Peruvian Amazon. I found (1) increased flooding decreased family richness in the closed-canopy forests but increased it in their...
Article
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I compared the floristic and physical structure of a white-water várzea flooded forest in the Amazon with a nearby unflooded terra firme forest. I set up and sampled a 1 ha plot in a white-water flooded forest, measuring and identifying every tree at least 10 cm diameter at breast height, which is close to a 50 ha plot in terra firme forest, mainta...
Article
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The influence of white-water flooding and treefall gap formation on terra firme forest regeneration was investigated in Yasuni National Park of western Ecuador. I set up seed traps, collected seed rain and soil samples, and set out seeds and seedlings in unflooded terra firme forest (dry) and its gaps, and in nearby white-water floodplain várzea fo...
Chapter
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The Neotropic rainforest in Central and South America has some of the highest levels of biodiversity on earth. Its future is impacted, however, by human disturbances usually clearing land for agriculture. Studies are needed to examine those "old fields" after abandonment in order to make wise decisions about rainforest conservation and management....
Chapter
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I investigated how flooding affects floristics and physical structure of forests in the Amazon at the Area de Conservacion Regional Comunal de Tamshiyacu-Tahuayo, Loreto ProvinceIquitos, Peru and at the Yasuni Experimental Station, Yasuni National Park, Ecuador. Iset up and sampled 1 ha permanent plots next to a black-water river (igapó forest) in...
Article
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We conducted a greenhouse experiment using common Puerto Rican trees and shrubs that span the spectrum of neotropic life histories. Our working hypothesis was that species had a higher colonisation rate of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) as they established further and further after a disturbance (quantified as increasing seed size). Results sug...
Article
Full-text available
I investigated how flooding affects floristics and physical structure of forests in the Amazon at the Area de Conservacion Regional Comunal de Tamshiyacu-Tahuayo, Loreto ProvinceIquitos, Peru and at the Yasuni Experimental Station , Yasuni National Park, Ecuador. Iset up and sampled 1 ha permanent plots next to a blackwater river (igapo forest) in...
Article
Full-text available
I report here on an ongoing permanent plot study in areas recovering from agriculture in Ecuador. These plots were set up in 1995 at Maquipucuna Reserve where the forest is tropical lower montane. The study consists of replicate fields in three past crop types (Sugarcane, Banana, and Pasture) for a total of six fields. Each field was first divided...
Article
Full-text available
I report here on an ongoing permanent plot study in areas recovering from agriculture in Ecuador. These plots were set up in 1995 at Maquipucuna Reserve where the forest is tropical lower montane. The study consists of replicate fields in three past crop types (Sugarcane, Banana, and Pasture) for a total of six fields. Each field was first divided...
Article
Full-text available
Spatial patterns of tropical trees and shrubs are important to understanding their interaction and the resultant structure of tropical rainforests. To assess this issue, we took advantage of previously collected data, on Neotropical tree and shrub stem identified to species and mapped for spatial coordinates in a 50ha plot, with a frequency of ever...
Chapter
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This chapter describes the responses of the organisms, communities, and ecosystems to the variety of disturbances by utilizing the conceptual model discussed in Chapter 2. It also dwells on the concepts of residuals, legacies, and ecological space in the understanding of disturbances such as background treefalls, hurricanes, floods, drought, landsl...
Chapter
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The study of pastures and other ecotones recovering from agriculture-old fields-is important to world-wide social and environmental issues such as forest regeneration, forest ecosystem restoration, sustainability of agriculture, maintenance of biodiversity, and impacts of global climate change on forest dynamics. Furthermore these ecotones may serv...
Article
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How best to define and quantify plant communities was investigated using long-term plot data sampled from a recovering pasture in Puerto Rico and abandoned sugarcane and banana plantations in Ecuador. Significant positive associations between pairs of old field species were first computed and then clustered together into larger and larger species g...
Article
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How plant communities are structured, and the relative roles of gradients and disturbances in that structuring, has long been of interest. Here I use plots in replicate tallgrass, mixedgrass, and shortgrass prairies across Northern Oklahoma to address this issue by sampling plant percent cover three years after applying treatments realizing common...
Article
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Over the past few decades, several conceptual and mathematical models of plant community organization and dynamics have been put forward. While each of these models has attempted to explain important plant community patterns by attributing them to some aspect of plant niches, or to a higher-level process, their predictive success has been very limi...
Article
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To better understand the availability of plant resources on the forest floor in the Amazon and also to show the effect of their heterogeneity on tree seedlings, I described the spatial and temporal variation of light and soil water along a 100 m transect in a terra firme forest for 6 months and recorded responses of three tree species planted on th...
Article
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I investigated how seed predation differed among tree species and among microhabitats across the Cross Timbers and what that variation may tell us about how this ecotone is maintained. The ecotone is located in Oklahoma, USA, between the eastern deciduous forest and tallgrass prairie where seeds of eight common tree species were placed in three mic...
Chapter
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Chapter
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This conclusion presents some closing thoughts on the key concepts discussed in the previous chapters of this book. The book focuses on the higher-order complexity and interactively-linked nature of the various ecosystem components within the Western Amazonian rainforest and how it affects us. It discusses the primary importance of permanent plots...
Chapter
Full-text available
Book
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Ecotones are dynamic over-lapping boundary areas where major terrestrial biomes meet. As past studies have shown, and as the chapters in this book will illustrate, their structure, size, and scope have changed considerably over the millennia, expanding and shrinking as climate and/or other driving conditions, also changed. Today, however, many of t...
Article
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To better understand how mammalian herbivory affects tallgrass prairie, I set up field exclosures to test effects of above-ground herbivory (AGH) (Bison bison L. is a potential above-ground herbivore), below-ground herbivory (BGH) (Geomys bursarius and Spermophilus tridecemlineatus are potential below-ground herbivores), and the interaction of the...
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With the aim of acquiring a better understanding of ecological growth and biomass allocation of Neo tropical trees, I inoculated Inga vera Willd. (Leguminosae) plants from cuttings with Rhizobium spp. and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and grew them in a greenhouse for 8 months under varying light (L), phosphorus (P), and nitrogen (N) treatments. I o...
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AimsIn order to better understand how tornados structure the ecotone between eastern deciduous forest and tallgrass prairie, we sampled trees in a recent tornado blowdown area and in the adjacent undisturbed forest. Both are part of the Cross Timbers ecotone of Osage County, Northeastern Oklahoma, USA.Methods We set up a 1-ha square plot in each ar...
Article
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In order to understand how trees replace themselves during the conversion from agricultural field back into eastern deciduous forest, I first used data sampled in ten old fields over the first 20 years after abandonment to generate six different models of tree replacement. Each of the six models was then used to generate abundance predictions for s...
Article
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Ecosystems have long been categorized by their function and structure (Odum 1953) and dominance and diversity are among the most common structural parameters measured in plant communities. The dominance of a plant species over another has been defined by having (1) more individual plants in a given sampling plot, (2) more collective biomass, or (3)...
Article
Full-text available
The Amazon is the most productive and diverse terrestrial ecosystem in the world and among its important structuring forces are flooding gradients and treefall gap dynamics. Consequently, in order to more fully understand Amazonian forests, I sampled Peruvian vegetation plots for five years both in forest and in fresh gaps within each of three fore...
Article
In order to better understand tree dynamics and maintenance of the ecotone between eastern deciduous forest and tallgrass prairie, I planted seedlings of five different species into a Cross Timbers area in North West Oklahoma for one-year. The seedlings were planted in four different patch-types under two different herbivore treatments. I found tha...
Article
Le tapis de tiges et de feuilles d'herbes mortes, ou litière, est une caractéristique importante des prairies et il a été démontré qu'il affecte divers aspects du cycle de vie des plantes. Pour cette raison, j'ai procédé à des expériences en chambre de croissance sur les effets de la masse de litière d'herbes (densité) et du type (mélange des espèc...
Article
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In this review I focus on the socially and ecologically important western Amazon basin and its associated plant communities. I delineate this vast area as between the Andes to the west and the confluence of the Amazon and its first major black-water river, the Rio Negro, to the east. Although scientists have explored here, and local people have liv...
Article
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To better understand the relationship between productivity and species richness after disturbance in the Neotropics, I tested two hypotheses using tree stem data collected in permanent plots set up after abandonment from agriculture. I found that (i) species richness had a significant positive relationship with productivity, where the slopes of the...
Article
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Although permanent plots have proven critical to studies of vegetation dynamics, their logistic limitations have led to the wide use of chronosequences as an alternative. Here, we test whether or not an approach combining permanent plots and chronosequences could be used successfully to accurately predict the vegetation changes that one would see i...
Article
To better understand how the Cross Timbers ecotone between U.S. eastern deciduous forest and tallgrass prairie is organized and maintained, I set out seedlings of Shumard oak (Quercus shumardii) for 1 year with treatments of water addition, trenching in pots to reduce belowground competition, burning, and patch type. I found that (1) seedlings in p...
Chapter
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The dynamics of seeds and seedlings determine much of plant community development after disturbance (Grubb 1977). For old field succession, whether in the temperate zone or in the Neotropics, such regeneration comes overwhelmingly from outside the field (Purata 1986, Uhl, Buschbacher and Serrao 1988, Myster 1993, Medellin and Gaona 1999) because fe...
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Decomposition is a critical ecosystem function that decomposes dead organicmaterials, removes wastes, recycles nutrients and renews soil fertility. In natural ecosystems most nitrogen (N) and phosphorous (P) required for plant growth are supplied through the decomposition of detritus, relying therefore on the activities of soil microbes and macrofa...
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Sugar cane cultivation spanned over two centuries in Puerto Rico, at one time covering 14% of the island's total area. The most productive plantations were located in alluvial valleys that were deforested before there was an opportunity to record the species composition and structural development of the original native forests. This has led to spec...
Chapter
Agricultural expansion in Latin America is intimately associated with tropical deforestation and biodiversity loss (e.g. Angelsen and Kaimowitz 2001). Although agricultural activities are frequently abandoned (Aide and Grau 2004), their effects on forest regeneration processes may be much more persistent (e.g. Ferguson et al. 2003). On land subject...
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According to recent statistics, today the total agricultural land area in the Neotropics amounts to about 500 million ha or nearly 30% of its territory, including crop and pastures (FAO 2000). Pastures and agrosilvopastoral land represent 77% of the total agricultural land, mostly on poor acid soils. Crops cover the remaining 23%, which are mostly...
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Earthworms are the best known and often the most important animals influencing the functioning of soil ecosystems (Hendrix and Bohlen 2002). In mature forests of the Neotropics, earthworms usually dominate the soil food web in terms of biomass (e.g., Odum and Pigeon 1970, Lee 1985, Lavelle, Brussaard and Hendrix 1999). Consequently, they have signi...
Chapter
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Since the 1980s, the plight of tropical forests and the factors that drive their conversion to human-dominated uses have received widespread attention in both the scientific and popular media. Worldwide, conversion to croplands and logging for timber and fuelwood have led the forces driving deforestation, but in Latin America creation of cattle pas...
Chapter
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Despite its importance as a wealthy source of unique biodiversity (Janzen 1988) and that it covers 42% of the tropical vegetation worldwide (Murphy and Lugo 1995), the dry forest is the most endangered terrestrial ecosystem and one of the least protected (Scariot and Sevilha 2005). In CentralAmerica for example, less than 1% of the original 500,000...
Chapter
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Changes in biogeochemical cycles after land conversion from native forest to pasture have been focused in several aspects, like soil organic matter (SOM) quantity and quality, emissions of greenhouse gases, changes in hydrological and limiting elements cycles (Feigl, Melillo and Cerri 1995, Matson et al. 1997, Neill et al. 1997a, b, 2001, Garcia-Mo...
Chapter
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In this section I summarize all previous chapters by reviewing what has been said about the Holocene and last ice age, and also about the current structure, function, and dynamics of each of the three general types of ecotones covered. Specific references are to be found back in the original chapters.
Book
Post-agricultural studies have been central to the development of both the science of plant ecology and ecology in general. The study of old field succession allows us to observe the development of the structure and function of communities, as well as understand the role of history and initial conditions in that process. Understanding old field suc...
Article
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In order to better understand how flooding and gap formation affect Amazonian rainforests, I set up plots both in three major forest types that differed by flooding duration (referred to here as dry, wet, very wet) and in their respective gaps. Sampling of those plots after 4 years of regeneration showed: (1) common species exist between wet forest...
Article
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Six large permanent vegetation plots, located at the Maquipucuna Reserve near Quito, Ecuador, were sampled annually for the first five years after abandonment. In addition, seed rain and seed bank were collected and other seeds and seedlings were set out in these same sugarcane (Saccharum officinarum) plantations, banana (Musa sp.) plantations, and...
Article
I set up a 250 m2 plot and found after five years that (1) grass dominated by ferns and woody species was gradually increasing over time; (2) woody genera (Syzygium, Calophyllum, and Clidemia) common here have not been found elsewhere on the island and “successional” trees, such as Cecropia sp. and Shefflera sp., were completely absent; (3) smaller...
Article
An experimental study of seed removal of four woody species in an abandoned pasture revealed significant main effects of species, density (higher densities survived more than lower densities), and patch-type (seeds under shrub patches survived more than in grass patches), but no effects of season. Rates of seed loss decreased with seed size across...

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