Smithsonian-NTU Partnership

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Research Activities

Tree diversity and structure: We are exploring if hyperdiverse tree communities in Southeast Asia are stable or experiencing directional shifts. More details here               Apex predators and trophic cascades: This work addresses whether deforestation, fragmentation, and hunting has led to widespread declines of predators, and if there are strongtrophic cascades in SE Asian forests. More details here             Subsidy cascades: This work explores how the massive influx of fruit in oil palm plantations affects food webs in adjacent forests. More details here



Seed dispersers versus seed predators: Many trees evolved to depend on some animals (orangutans) to disperse their seeds, while other animals (rodents) predate their seeds. We are studying if altered mammal communities lead to shifts in the recruitment of trees based on their seed characteristics.


Restoration of SE Asian peat-swamp forests: We are initiating work on aboveground - belowground linkages in peat swamp ecosystems to understand whether the functioning of devegetated and degraded peatlands can be restored.


Bukit Timah research: Since 1993, NTU and NIE-NTU researchers, together with the Smithsonian Institute, have investigated forest dynamics in the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. Starting with a study on impacts of fragmentation and defaunation, the project now includes carbon dynamics, phylogenetics and genomics, and microbial diversity, More details here.



Nutrient limitation in tropical forests: Despite the high primary productivity and biodiversity of tropical forests, they are often found on some of most nutrient depleted soils in the world. We are examining how soil nutrients influence plant and ecosystem processes in contrasting forest dynamics plots, large-scale nutrient addition experiments, and growing house experiments..