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The importance of phenology in the spectrum of leaf economy in Caatinga species

Grant number: 21/11025-0
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): June 01, 2022
Effective date (End): December 31, 2023
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Ecology - Applied Ecology
Principal Investigator:Leonor Patricia Cerdeira Morellato
Grantee:Nattália do Prado Neves
Host Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IB). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Rio Claro. Rio Claro , SP, Brazil
Associated scholarship(s):23/03446-1 - The leafing patterns of seasonally dry tropical forests communities: a functional and phylogenetic approach, BE.EP.IC


Monitoring phenological patterns and leaf attributes at different aridity levels is particularly important in the Caatinga region, as species in areas with distinct volumes of total annual precipitation demonstrate a wide range of phenological behaviors and degree of deciduity. New technologies provide different methods of monitoring leaf phenology, such as the near-remote phenology performed through repeated photographs taken by digital cameras (phenocameras). From these photographs, information on plant reflectance can be extracted, which is related to changes in leaf stages and vegetative crowns. The high temporal frequency data obtained with phenocamera technology becomes important in the Caatinga ecosystem, as vegetation responds quickly to variations in moisture, producing new leaves a few days after low precipitation pulses. In this sense, the images collected daily allow the monitoring of changes in the color of leaves and tree crowns, providing the observation and identification of leaf development processes with greater accuracy compared to traditional phenological monitoring methods. This project seeks to analyze the relationship between the length of the growing season, that is, different patterns and levels of deciduousness and other leaf traits, evaluating the leaf economy spectrum among species from three areas of the Caatinga under different levels of precipitation. Studies addressing the relationship between deciduousness levels and leaf traits are still scarce in environments with strong seasonality and water stress. We expect a relation between phenological strategies and leaf traits as reflected in the leaf economy spectrum.(AU)

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