Lars Markesteijn

Post-Doctoral Researcher

Research Interests

As an ecologist my academic interests are naturally broad, but I am foremost fascinated by biodiversity. As such, most of my work has been carried out in biologically complex tropical forest ecosystems in Mexico, Bolivia and Panama. My research addresses processes underlying function and co-existence of tropical plant species and mechanisms of biodiversity maintenance. Currently, I study how density-dependent mortality of tropical tree species, as mediated by fungal pathogens and insect herbivores, changes with humidity. This mechanism is also know as the Janzen-Connell effect; one of the key theories explaining biodiversity maintenance in tropical forests. In the past I have looked into physiological plant responses to limiting resources, tolerance to environmental change, and resource competition – principally with respect to water. I explored the effects of variation in plant functional traits across scales ranging from individual plant performance, to local species abundance and cross-ecosystem distribution. The overall goal of my research efforts is to figure out how global change is affecting these patterns and processes.


Selected Publications

  • Sterck, F., Markesteijn, L., Toledo, M., Schieving, F. & Poorter, L. (in press). Sapling performance along resource gradients drives tree species distributions within and across tropical forests. Ecology.
  • Van der Sande, M., Poorter, L., Schnitzer, S. A. & Markesteijn, L. (2013) Are lianas more drought tolerant than trees? A test for the role of hydraulic architecture and other leaf and stem traits. Oecologia,172: 961-973.
  • Sterck, F., Markesteijn, L., Schieving, F. & Poorter, L. (2011) Functional traits determine tradeoffs and niches in a tropical forest community. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,108: 20627-20632
  • Markesteijn, L., Poorter, L., Paz, H., Sack, L. & Bongers, F. (2011) Ecological differentiation in xylem cavitation resistance is associated with stem and leaf structural traits. Plant, Cell & Environment, 34: 137-148.
  • Markesteijn, L., Poorter, L., Paz, H., Sack, L. & Bongers, F. (2011) Hydraulics and life history of tropical dry forest tree species; coordination of species drought and shade tolerance. New Phytologist,191: 480-495.
  • Onoda, Y., Westoby, M., Adler, P.B., Choong, A. M. L., Clissold, F.J., Cornelissen, J. H. C., Díaz, S., Dominy, N. J., Elgart, A., Enrico, L., Fine, P. V., Howard, J. J., Jalili, A., Kitajima, K., Kurokawa, H., Lucas, P., Markesteijn, L., McArthur, C., Peeters, P. J., Perez-Harguindeguy, N., Poorter, L., Richards, L., Santiago, L. S., Sosinski Jr, E. E., Van Bael, S. A.,  Warton, D. I., Wright, I. J., Wright, S. J. & Yamashita, N. (2011) Global patterns of leaf mechanical properties. Ecology Letters, 14: 301-312.
  • Markesteijn, L. & Poorter, L. (2009) Seedling root morphology and biomass allocation of 62 tropical tree species in relation to drought- and shade-tolerance. Journal of Ecology,97: 311-325.