New lab paper

Nov 19, 2013 • Dylan W. Schwilk

Just out in PLoS One: Schwilk, Gaetani and Poulos 2013 Oak Bark Allometry and Fire Survival Strategies in the Chihuahuan Desert Sky Islands, Texas, USA

We found that bark allocation strategies varied among species that can co-occur but have different habitat preferences. Investment patterns in bark were related to soil moisture preference and drought tolerance and, by proxy, to expected fire regime. Dry site species had shallower allometries; such species invested early in bark but decreased investment as they grew. Wet site species, on the other hand, had larger allometric coefficients, indicating delayed investment to defense. An example of the latter category is Quercus hypoleucoides, the silverleaf oak, which has very think bark as a seedling and relies on basal resprouting in order to survive fire. But those individuals that avoid fire and grow to become large trees are among the very thickest-barked trees. Q. hypoleucoides essentially switches from a dependence on repsrouting to investing in above ground survival as it ages.