For my doctoral research, I worked at two Amazonian primary tropical forest sites in Peru and French Guiana. I spent two years climbing some of the tallest trees in the Amazon (up to 65m tall) to study how leaf age and other leaf phenological processes impact the physiochemical and spectral properties of tropical forest canopy communities.
My doctoral research presented the first comprehensive analysis of the morphological, biochemical and spectral leaf traits of canopy and emergent tropical trees during natural (in situ) leaf ageing.
My research applied an interdisciplinary approach that used leaf trait data, modelling and remote sensing together with multiple scales of analysis (leaf, individual tree crown and canopy community) to generate insights into the effects of natural leaf ageing on our current understanding of tropical leaf trait variation, chemometric models used to spectrally predict leaf traits, and together with other leaf phenological processes, on remotely-sensed vegetation indices (VIs) commonly used to monitor canopy dynamics in tropical evergreen forests.
This research makes significant contributions towards a better mechanistic understanding of tropical leaf phenology and helps to clarify the origin of seasonal dynamics observed in remotely sensed VIs of tropical forest canopy communities.
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