An empirical assessment of tree branching networks and implications for plant allometric scaling models

Lisa Patrick Bentley, James C. Stegen, Van M. Savage, Duncan D. Smith, Erica I. von Allmen, John S. Sperry, Peter B. Reich, Brian Enquist

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

45 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Several theories predict whole-tree function on the basis of allometric scaling relationships assumed to emerge from traits of branching networks. To test this key assumption, and more generally, to explore patterns of external architecture within and across trees, we measure branch traits (radii/lengths) and calculate scaling exponents from five functionally divergent species. Consistent with leading theories, including metabolic scaling theory, branching is area preserving and statistically self-similar within trees. However, differences among scaling exponents calculated at node- and whole-tree levels challenge the assumption of an optimised, symmetrically branching tree. Furthermore, scaling exponents estimated for branch length change across branching orders, and exponents for scaling metabolic rate with plant size (or number of terminal tips) significantly differ from theoretical predictions. These findings, along with variability in the scaling of branch radii being less than for branch lengths, suggest extending current scaling theories to include asymmetrical branching and differential selective pressures in plant architectures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1069-1078
Number of pages10
JournalEcology Letters
Volume16
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - 2013

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branching
plant architecture
prediction
testing

Keywords

  • Allometry
  • Hierarchical Bayesian
  • Metabolic scaling theory
  • Network topology
  • Plant traits
  • WBE model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

Cite this

Bentley, L. P., Stegen, J. C., Savage, V. M., Smith, D. D., von Allmen, E. I., Sperry, J. S., ... Enquist, B. (2013). An empirical assessment of tree branching networks and implications for plant allometric scaling models. Ecology Letters, 16(8), 1069-1078. https://doi.org/10.1111/ele.12127

An empirical assessment of tree branching networks and implications for plant allometric scaling models. / Bentley, Lisa Patrick; Stegen, James C.; Savage, Van M.; Smith, Duncan D.; von Allmen, Erica I.; Sperry, John S.; Reich, Peter B.; Enquist, Brian.

In: Ecology Letters, Vol. 16, No. 8, 2013, p. 1069-1078.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Bentley, LP, Stegen, JC, Savage, VM, Smith, DD, von Allmen, EI, Sperry, JS, Reich, PB & Enquist, B 2013, 'An empirical assessment of tree branching networks and implications for plant allometric scaling models', Ecology Letters, vol. 16, no. 8, pp. 1069-1078. https://doi.org/10.1111/ele.12127
Bentley LP, Stegen JC, Savage VM, Smith DD, von Allmen EI, Sperry JS et al. An empirical assessment of tree branching networks and implications for plant allometric scaling models. Ecology Letters. 2013;16(8):1069-1078. https://doi.org/10.1111/ele.12127
Bentley, Lisa Patrick ; Stegen, James C. ; Savage, Van M. ; Smith, Duncan D. ; von Allmen, Erica I. ; Sperry, John S. ; Reich, Peter B. ; Enquist, Brian. / An empirical assessment of tree branching networks and implications for plant allometric scaling models. In: Ecology Letters. 2013 ; Vol. 16, No. 8. pp. 1069-1078.
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