Carbon storage in tropical forest plant communities under increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide
Mentor: David Marvin
Tropical forest ecosystems, previously thought to be in a state of dynamic equilibrium, have been found to be undergoing widespread changes. Of particular concern is the increasing dominance of lianas (woody climbing vines). Changing concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide have been implicated as a driver of these recently observed changes. Using a combination of elevated CO2 experiments, field surveys, and remote sensing imagery analysis I seek to understand and quantify any impact increasing liana dominance has on the capacity of tropical forest ecosystems to store carbon. REU students will have the opportunity to develop a complimentary project of their own that includes field-based work in Panama, Costa Rica, or other tropical countries.