Ecological mechanisms of tropical vegetation transitions for co-existing with abiotic stressors and disturbances
Tropical vegetation transitions are complex systems as many biotic and abiotic drivers operate within a small spatial scale, and mark the ecotone between two contrasting ecosystems. They can be stable at relatively short periods of times, but changes in the biotic/abiotic conditions driven by anthropogenic change can cause disequilibrium, with the potential of one ecosystem expanding over the other.
In this talk I will talk about the two most widespread vegetation transitions in the tropics: tropical mountain treelines, and tropical forest- savannas. In each system, I will explain the main changing drivers operating at the transition and the ecological mechanisms of vegetation to cope with the drivers, in an attempt to elucidate their future trajectories with environmental change.
Dr. Oliveras is an ecosystem ecologist, a Deputy Ecosystems Research Program Leader at the Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford, and a Visiting Associate Professor, Department of Environmental Sciences, State University of Mato Grosso (UNEMAT), Brazil. Dr. Oliveras explores the vulnerability and resilience of ecosystems to global change. She is interested in how changes in the abiotic conditions - and particularly extreme drought events and modified fire regimes - affect plant form and function, and how this aggregates to diversity and ecosystem functioning. She is particularly passionate about mountainous and tropical environments.