SER seminar series 


Dr Donald Franklin presents 'Everything in its season? The wet and the dry in monsoon "rainforest" forest trees', on Friday 20 July from 1pm to 2pm.

When is the best time for a tree to grow, flower and fruit? Even in the Top End, where the intense seasonality of rainfall underlies much of the region's ecology, trees have found a myriad of solutions to this question. However, "rainforests" seem almost out-of-place in such a seasonal environment, and evidence suggests that Top End rainforest trees are more severely constrained by the lack of rain in the dry season than are savanna trees. These constraints may force individuals of a species to all grow and reproduce at the same time when conditions are ameriolated by the onset of the wet sesaon. Individual trees may also gain direct benefits from synchronising their activities with conspecific neighbours, for example, the ability to cross-pollinate. However, the possible benefits of being out of synch with your conspecific neighbours have received little attention, and the phenomenon is usually considered a feature only of the wet tropics where rainfall is never limiting.

In this collaboration with Christine Bach, we identify a surprising number of Top End monsoon rainforest tree species in which growth and/or reproduction is not well synchronised among individuals, and explore some of its implications.

Don Franklin is a Research Fellow with the School for Environmental Research. His interests include biogeography, landscape and vegetation ecology, flora, birds, butterflies and photography.

Find more about past and present SER seminars from the school website

This seminar takes place in room 1, building 22 (22.01), Casuarina Campus, Charles Darwin University.