On Tuesday, October 6, 2020, The UCSB forum on spatial thinking presents

The Geography of Forest Hydraulic Trait Compositions: Observed Patterns, underlying Mechanisms, and Future Implications


Anna Trugman

Department of Geography

University of California Santa Barbara

11:30 a.m. Tuesday, October 6, 2020 | Zoom link*


Tree hydraulic traits determine plant water use and tree vulnerability to drought stress, thereby affecting forest productivity and the movement of water between the land surface and the atmosphere. Here, I leverage an extensive trait database and a long-term continental forest plot network to map changes in community trait distributions and quantify “trait velocities” (the rate of change in community-weighted traits) for different regions and different forest types across the U.S. from 2000 to the present. I find evidence for shifts towards communities with more drought-tolerant traits driven by tree mortality. I then review my ongoing work looking at the extent to which community trait compositional changes may buffer forest productivity and water fluxes in the near term from the effects of climate change.


Anna Trugman  is an Assistant Professor in the Geography Department. Her lab studies how changes in climate and water availability affect ecosystem diversity, productivity, and resilience across large spatial scales. Her research approach integrates field measurements with numerical ecosystem models to gain new insight into the biological processes affecting climate-vegetation interactions. Trugman received her Ph.D. in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences from Princeton University in 2017 and her B.S. in Geological and Environmental Science from Stanford University in 2011. From 2017–2019 Trugman was a USDA NIFA Postdoctoral Fellow in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Utah.

The objectives of the ThinkSpatial brown-bag presentations are to exchange ideas about spatial perspectives in research and teaching, to broaden communication and cooperation across disciplines among faculty and graduate students, and to encourage the sharing of tools and concepts.

* Please contact Karen Doehner, or Emmanuel Papadakis, to review and schedule possible discussion topics or presentations that share your disciplinary interest in spatial thinking. If you are participating from outside the UCSB community, please also ask for access credentials.

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