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Harvard Forest REU Symposium Abstract 2017

  • Title: Body Size Abundance Relationships and Seedling Dynamics at Harvard Forest
  • Author: Kalaina A Thorne (Bryn Mawr College)
  • Abstract:

    Energy is used by all organisms to survive and grow, making it essential for life on Earth. Energy equivalence explains that total energy use among individuals of different size classes is the same, due to the relationship between body size and population abundance. Previous studies have found that abundance decreases with increased body size, and have proven that energy equivalence holds true for trees. Small trees (<1cm Diameter at Breast Height) have been excluded from these studies, due to their high mortality and abundance, making them more difficult to study. To have a broader understanding of this size abundance relationship, we investigated seedling dynamics within Harvard Forest's 35 (500 x700 m) hectre megaplot. The aim of this study is to test size abundance models, with the combination of our seedling data and previous established tree data. Seedling abundance was found to decrease with increased individual heights, as expected. Combined data with trees of greater and less than 1 cm dbh also showed a negative relationship between diameter and abundance per size class. We have found that the inverse size abundance relationship is true for smaller seedlings, which is promising for future study on energy equivalence in forests, and will be useful for understanding more insights about forest stand dynamics

  • Research Category: Physiological Ecology, Population Dynamics, and Species Interactions; Group Projects