Plant Sciences Research Seminar: Dr Chris Kempes

16 March


Large Lecture Theatre

Dr Chris Kempes, Omidyar Fellow at the Santa Fe Institute

Scaling laws, resource limitations, and biogeographic predictions

Scaling relationships have long been observed in a variety of biological contexts. Recent efforts have shown that these power-law relationships are often due to common constraints operating across a range of scales. However, questions remain about the utility of these relationships for predictive ecology or for describing detailed organism physiology. In this talk I will discuss how we have used the allometric geometry of plants to create a first-order model for predicting the maximum allowable tree height in a given environment. Our framework is able to successfully predict the biogeography of maximum tree height at the continental scale from average meteorology. Furthermore, I will discuss how this framework is able to predict a variety of plant traits and whole-forest features such as standing biomass. Finally, I will connect this work to a larger perspective on organism physiology and architecture across the range of life’s diversity.