QCBS Students

Chantal Hutchison

McGill University
Ph.D. candidate

Supervisor: Dominique Gravel
Start: 2015-01-01

Stability of forest ecosystems under climate change
I will be developing climate-driven neighbourhood competition models for growth and survival to better understand the mechanisms driving stability of forest ecosystems. The basic theory underlying this problem is the insurance hypothesis, which says a diversity of complementary species responses to changing conditions maintains ecosystem function. To test this hypothesis, the covariance matrix of responses to climatic fluctuations between relevant variables will be investigated. Trees are an ideal study population because they are sessile, allowing a more controllable investigation of the mechanisms responsible for the competitive and facilitative interactions responsible for complementarity. These models will be built/tested using long-term data collected from the Sardinilla planted forest in Panama as well as the Anhembi study site in Sao Paulo, Brazil. I’m also interested in scaling our predictions to the landscape level and integrating over an entire forest rotation to address practical problems in forestry.