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School of Geography

Julia Tavares Julia Tavares

Contact details

School of Geography
University of Leeds
University Road
Leeds LS2 9JT   UK



Project title

Hydraulic properties of Amazonian trees: spatial variation and consequences of vulnerability to drought

Project overview

Climate change is predicted to increase the incidence, duration and severity of Amazonian droughts. To predict how tropical forests will respond to future climate change, it is extremely important to understand the physiological mechanisms which are driving drought stress at species level. Furthermore, it is necessary to know the diversity of drought tolerance of tropical trees.

The tree hydraulic traits varies within and across species, largely due differences in theirs foliar and xylem structures. However, there is some genetic plasticity and they can acclimate to environmental variations.

Thereby, the main goal of this thesis is to expand the understandings of how vulnerability to drought varies across tropical forests.


The overall aim of this project is to investigate how is the variation of tree hydraulic traits within and across Amazonian forests, also how these properties can drive responses of tropical forests to drought.

Main questions

The central questions of this study are:

  1. How do key tree hydraulic traits associated with drought resistance vary across Amazonian rainforests?
  2. What are the relative roles of climate vs. taxonomic identity in driving variation in these traits across the Amazonian basin?
  3. Are hydraulic traits good predictors of seasonal and interannual variation in tree growth within and across Amazonian forests?
  4. Are these hydraulic properties good predictors of drought-induced tree mortality within and across Amazonian forests?
  5. What is the effected of future drought scenarios on forest structure and functional composition?


To answer these questions it will be used tree different kind of approaches: field data collection, analyses of existing database and individual-based modelling (TFS model – Trait-based Forest Simulator)

Research Affiliations



2013 – Awarded at the XVI Brazilian Remote Sensing Symposium for the presented study “Object-based image analysis (OBIA) for image classification of leaf phenology monitoring in Central Amazon”.

Short Curriculum Vitae

  • 2013-2014 Assistant Researcher at National Institute of Science and Technology for the Environmental Services of Amazonia (INCT-Servamb/BRAZIL)
  • 2011-2013 MSc in Ecology at Nacional Institute for Amazonian Research (INPA), Amazonas State, Brazil
  • 2006-2010 Undergraduate in Biological Science at Universidade Federal Rural do Rio de Janeiro (UFRRJ), Rio de Janeiro State, Brazil

Full CV: