I have always been interested in variation among individuals within plant populations. Growth and reproduction are two of the most fundamental processes for plants, and individuals vary greatly in their behavior. A plant grows by increasing its living matter ("biomass"). It then distributes or allocates this biomass to its different structures and activities, among them reproduction. Researchers have recently found that most allocation patterns can be better understood in terms of size than in terms of time, so we need to analyze allocation with respect to size (allometrically), rather than as proportions (see figure below). My goal at NCEAS is to gather and analyze as much relevant data as possible on the relationship between size and reproductive output within plant populations to look for patterns. Such patterns are fundamental if we are to understand the behavior and evolution of plant populations, and if we are to use resources most effectively in agriculture and forestry.
Project Page