Understanding growth patterns of trees from underlying eco-physiological and evolutionary principles.
Current projects include studies on understanding plastic growth responses of trees to contrasting soil conditions, by integrating underlying trait responses in roots, stem and leaves for canopy trees (PhD Weemstra), and comparative studies where we upscale the functioning of anatomical properties in xylem, phloem and leaves to the architecture, functioning and growth for trees across Dutch forests (with MSc students) and European forests (European research networks) . In addition, I explore diel and seasonal patterns in carbon and water relationships within trees and consequences for overall tree growth (European research networks)
Understanding the consequences of the growth patterns for niche differentiation and species distributions along environmental gradients.
Current projects focus on the impacts of responses in functional traits and architecture for distributions of woody plant species along gradients in climate, for example for tree species across Europe (with European networks), woody plant species from boreal, temperate to tropical forest biomes (PhD Zhang), for liana and tree species in forests of Panama (PhD Medina), Brazil (Post-Doc ) and tropical China (Chinese research networks), and for trees across the Mediterranean (European research networks).
Understanding the consequences of growth patterns for the management of trees or forests.
Current projects include multiple studies on environmental and physiological impacts on frankincense production by a woodland tree species in Ethiopia (with Frans Bongers, and a whole team of Ethiopian PhD students), and on mono and mixed forest species impacts on forest productivity in the Netherlands (PhD Lu Huicui).