Leafing Phenology and Insect Seasonality in an Ever-wet Tropical Forest

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

by Dale Forrister, School of Biological Sciences, University of Utah

8 AM Pacific / 9 AM Mountain / 10 AM Central / 11 AM Eastern for 1 hour.


Tropical rainforests are the most biodiverse and complex ecosystems on Earth due to their intricate webs of interacting species. For example, the interactions between plants and their insect herbivores form the cornerstone of tropical forest food webs. My research aims to understand how the timing and duration of leaf production (phenology) shape these interactions. Our understanding of plant phenology in tropical forests is limited by the extreme diversity of plants as well as consistent cloud cover that makes satellite-based remote sensing difficult. To overcome these challenges, I use drone-based imagery taken above the forest canopy in the Ecuadorian Amazon to track new leaf production. Using these drone-based phenology measurements I then ask how leafing phenology shapes the seasonal patterns of abundance and diversity of lepidopteran herbivores in an ever-wet lowland forest in the Ecuadorian Amazon.

In this talk, I will describe the challenges and benefits of using drone imagery in remote tropical forests, and how these data can be used in ecological research.



Please register for the webinar.