Plant Biol (Stuttg) 2005; 7(5): 484-494
DOI: 10.1055/s-2005-865905
Research Paper

Georg Thieme Verlag Stuttgart KG · New York

Relative Growth Rate and Biomass Allocation in Ten Woody Species with Different Leaf Longevity Using Phylogenetic Independent Contrasts (PICs)

J. Ruiz-Robleto1 , 2 , R. Villar1
  • 1Area de Ecología, Campus de Rabanales, Universidad de Córdoba, 14071, Spain
  • 2Facultad de Ciencias Ambientales y Agrícolas, Universidad Rafael Landivar, Campus Central, Vista Hermosa III, zona 16, Guatemala City, Guatemala
Further Information

Publication History

Received: November 29, 2004

Accepted: June 22, 2005

Publication Date:
15 September 2005 (online)


In this study, we compare the relative growth rate (RGR) and biomass allocation of 10 woody species (5 deciduous and 5 evergreen) from the Mediterranean region using phylogenetic independent contrasts (PICs) to test if these two functional groups differ in these traits. In general, the results were similar when using PICs or without taking into account phylogenetic relations. Deciduous species had a higher RGR than evergreen species, due to the higher net assimilation rate (NAR). Deciduous species had a higher specific leaf area (SLA) but a lower leaf mass ratio (LMR), resulting in a similar LAR for deciduous and evergreen species (LAR = SLA × LMR). In some cases, the use of PICs revealed patterns that would not have appeared if phylogeny had been overlooked. For example, there was no significant correlation between RGR and final dry mass (after 4 months of growth) but PICs revealed that there was a positive relation between these two variables in all deciduous-evergreen pairs. In general, RGR decreased with time and this temporal variation was due primarily to NAR variations (r = 0.79, p < 0.01), and also to variations in LAR (r = 0.69, p < 0.05). Considering the phylogeny, the only variable constantly different for all deciduous-evergreen pairs was SLA. This result, and the fact that SLA was the best correlated variable with RGR (r = 0.81, p < 0.01), reinforce the value of SLA as a variable closely associated to growth and to the functional groups (deciduous vs. evergreen).


R. Villar

Area de Ecología

Campus de Rabanales

Universidad de Córdoba, 14071



Editor: J. Knops