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Tree adaptations to fire: a comparison between African and Brazilian savannas

Grant number: 19/24989-8
Support type:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Master's degree
Effective date (Start): March 31, 2020
Effective date (End): September 29, 2020
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Botany
Principal Investigator:Alessandra Tomaselli Fidelis
Grantee:Marco Antonio Chiminazzo
Supervisor abroad: Charles-Dominique
Home Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IB). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Rio Claro. Rio Claro , SP, Brazil
Local de pesquisa : Université Paris-Sorbonne (Paris 4), France  
Associated to the scholarship:18/21300-6 - Does the protection of aerial buds in woody plants occur in response to fire in Cerrado?, BP.MS

Abstract

Savannas are defined by the coexistence of grassy and woody species. The properties of the grass layer impact hugely the ecosystem functioning in Savanna, determining for example its flammability. A wide diversity of physiognomies is found in the Cerrado (Brazilian savanna), with varying C4 grass and woody layers resulting in contrasted fire regimes. This particularity is responsible for structurally differing the Brazilian from the African savannas, even considering that both are exposed to the same disturbance. Resprouting is the most important strategy used by woody plants to overcome frequent fires, allowing the plant to reconstitute its above ground parts after they have been consumed by flames. To be able to resprout, plants need to have their buds protected from fire, either belowground or under specialized anatomical layer such as bark. While several studies document how bud protection under bark and bark thickness explain how species survive to frequent fires in Africa, little is known about how these two traits influence local and global rules for savannas regeneration. Therefore, this project aims to bridge this knowledge gap by evaluating how bud protection and bark investment determine species performance in Brazilian and African savannas, in order to disclose rules that applies globally to savannas systems.