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Seeking the burning question: a trait-based plant response to fire in a Tropical Savanna

Grant number: 20/15891-1
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): October 01, 2021
Effective date (End): February 29, 2024
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Ecology - Applied Ecology
Principal researcher:Alessandra Tomaselli Fidelis
Grantee:Heloiza Lourenço Zirondi
Home Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IB). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Rio Claro. Rio Claro , SP, Brazil

Abstract

Fire regime drives plant responses and plant traits in fire-prone environments. Besides, altering any component of fire regime, such as fire frequency, could lead to changing plant response, diversity, and community dynamics. Hence, we aim to evaluate how fire affects plant traits in a tropical Savanna. For that, we will focus on four main points: i) Evaluate the Intra and interspecific variation of seed and germination traits according to a fire frequency gradient, ii) Evaluate how does fire frequency affect the trade-off of resprouter (clonal vs. non-clonal) plants allocating resources towards vegetative and reproductive structures, iii) Evaluate how the seed longevity and germination response to fire cues (heat shock and smoke) of native seeds are affected when seeds are stored in situ and iv) Explore the relationship of seed tolerance to high temperatures and seed traits for Cerrado species. To answer questions i) and ii) we will collect seeds and evaluate germination, and plant traits from three different fire frequencies (High, Medium, and Low) in a Cerrado area in central Brazil. The experiments for objective iii) will be conducted in a Cerrado area in Southeastern Brazil while seed and germination data from different regions of Cerrado will be used on objective iv). We expect that this research could provide insightful information on reproductive traits and plants' response to fire and changes in fire regime. Thus, aiding in management plans, restoration information subsidies, and diversity conservation in Cerrado and tropical Savannas. (AU)

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