Current research projects
2016-2019, Fondecyt Regular Project 1160329 “Tree height as a crucial trait that explains species distributions”. Principal investigator. Funded by Conicyt.
Tree height has always amazed and stimulated the curiosity not only of naturalists and ecologists, but of people in general. Recent ecological and evolutionary studies have shown interesting viewpoints on plant height, including the apparent existence of a bimodal distribution of the maximum height of woody species, the importance of plant height on species diversification, or how height is the main driver of conduit diameter variation. Given that most of previous studies have dealt with maximum height, here I would like to lean the attention to a most unheeding aspect of tree height, which is that being short in stature becomes advantageous for plants. My general aim is to elaborate a much more fair ground about the trade-offs involving the many aspects of tree height. As the paradigm within which the field of ecology primarily operates is the struggle for existence, much attention has been placed on the apparent competitive advantages that tall stature confers to trees when competing for pre-empting light resources. My foremost hypothesis is that short-statured tree species can attain wider ecological niche breadths than taller ones, i.e. there is a negative relationship between niche breadth and tree height. It has been found that the tallest individuals of the tallest tree species on earth are confined to an outstanding narrow thermal distribution near coastal areas. Two short-statured tree species, Embothrium coccineum (Proteaceae) and Nothofagus antarctica (Nothofagaceae), prosper across an abrupt precipitation gradient (4,000–500 mm of annual precipitation) in Patagonia, from sea level to treeline elevation.
2016-2019, Fondecyt Regular Project 1160330 “Carbon allocation in winter deciduous versus evergreen trees: is it coordinated with nutrient allocation and long-distance transport of assimilates?”. Co-investigator. Funded by Conicyt.
2016-2019, Fondo de Investigación de Bosque Nativo “Bosques degradados del tipo forestal Siempreverde en la Región de Aysén: resiliencia y multifuncionalidad ecosistémica”. Principal investigator. Funded by Conaf.
Completed research projects
2013-2016, Ecos-Conicyt C12B01 “The role of stress gradients on genetic structure and functional traits in forest populations of Patagonia”. Funded by Conicyt (Chile) and Ecos (France);
2012-2014, Fondecyt Regular Project 1120171 “The link between plant functional traits and species coexistence in the Chilean forest”. Funded by Conicyt;
2009-2012, Climate change consequences in Patagonian forests: How do evergreen and deciduous Nothofagus face the increasing attacks of Ormiscodes amphimone (Saturniidae)? Funded by DID S-2010-67, Universidad Austral de Chile;
2009-2011, Proyecto Fortalecimiento SS-2008-10 “Cambio del uso de la tierra debido a los incendios catastróficos que afectaron a la Región de Aysén: variabilidad genética y funcionamiento ecosistémico”. Funded by Conicyt;
2009, International Connection Project (Proyecto de vinculación internacional), The treeline connection. Funded by Conicyt;
2007-2008, Treeline formation in Nothofagus spp. in southern Chile: a search for a mechanistic explanation in a changing world. Funded by Fondecyt-Conicyt (3070050);
2006-2008, The occurrence of novel establishment strategies in second-growth forests of Nothofagus in Patagonia: group selection, facilitation-competition interplay, and stand dynamics model. Partially funded by The School of Forestry and Conservation (The University of Montana) and a seed-project from Universidad de Concepción (205.141.017-1sp).