Predicting mast events in indigenous forests
New Zealand is ideally placed for studying the causes and consequences of masting, as it is unusually common in the flora including in many dominant tree species.
Our overall goal is to develop a network of long-term seedfall monitoring sites that can be used to address a range of scientific and end-user questions regarding masting. This network will capitalise on a large number of existing datasets and knowledge of seeding processes in New Zealand species.
We will address the following questions:
- What are the plant seeding cues and how do they vary among and within species?
- Can knowledge of these cues be used to develop forward predictions of seedfall?
- What is the scale of synchrony among individuals within and among species and how does this contribute to large-scale patterns of seedfall?
- If seed dispersal and local seed rain are mechanisms promoting species coexistence, then has the loss of large avian seed dispersers in New Zealand affected forest composition?
- Is synchrony among species adaptive?
- How will global climate change influence seed production and synchrony among individuals?