EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Plant-FATE – Predicting the adaptive responses of biodiverse plant communities using functional-trait evolution

Jaideep Joshi1, Iain Colin Prentice2,3,4, Åke Brännström1,5, Shipra Singh1,6, Florian Hofhansl7, and Ulf Dieckmann8,1,9
Jaideep Joshi et al.
  • 1International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Evolution and Ecology Program, Austria (
  • 2Department of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University, NSW 2109, Australia
  • 3Imperial College London, Department of Life Sciences, Silwood Park Campus, Ascot SL5 7PY, UK
  • 4Ministry of Education Key Laboratory for Earth System Modeling, Department of Earth System Science, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China
  • 5Department of Mathematics and Mathematical Statistics, Umeå University, 90187 Umeå, Sweden
  • 6School of Environmental Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi-110067
  • 7Biodiversity and Natural Resources Program, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, 2361 Laxenburg, Austria
  • 8Complexity Science and Evolution Unit, Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University, 1919-1 Tancha, Onna, Kunigami, Okinawa 904-0495, Japan
  • 9Department of Evolutionary Studies of Biosystems, The Graduate University for Advanced Studies (Sokendai), Hayama, Kanagawa 240-0193, Japan

We present Plant-FATE, a trait-size-structured vegetation model in which the time evolution of the size distribution of multiple species is modelled using the McKendrick-von Foerster partial differential equation. In our model, trait structure allows for representing any number of functionally distinct species as points in trait space, while size structure allows for modelling competition for light. To account for the stomatal and biochemical responses of leaves to environmental conditions, including CO2 concentration, vapour pressure deficit, and soil moisture, Plant-FATE incorporates ‘P-hydro’, a unified model for stomatal conductance and photosynthetic capacity [Joshi, J., et al. (2020). Towards a unified theory of plant photosynthesis and hydraulics. bioRxiv 2020.12.17.423132]. To model the resource allocation of plants, Plant-FATE uses an extended version of the ‘T-model’, accounting for crown geometry. In Plant-FATE, the vertical light profile attenuated by the canopy can be (optionally) modelled as a continuous light profile or via the ‘perfect plasticity approximation’ (PPA). Plant-FATE also includes a simple model for the acclimation of the crown leaf area index and an empirically derived model of plant mortality. Here, we present initial results exploring the effect of different trait combinations on the demographics of individual trees and single-species stands. We also analyse the outcomes of pairwise competition between species differing in their traits. Our approach is a step towards developing an eco-evolutionary vegetation model (EEVM) capable of simulating the adaptive responses of biodiverse plant communities to changing environmental conditions.

How to cite: Joshi, J., Prentice, I. C., Brännström, Å., Singh, S., Hofhansl, F., and Dieckmann, U.: Plant-FATE – Predicting the adaptive responses of biodiverse plant communities using functional-trait evolution, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-9994,, 2022.