Du Malone writes: I imagine FM managers will be surprised to find me reblogging a post about plant science ‘A plant’s adaptive traits don’t follow climate conditions as you might expect’. Almost as surprised as its author will, doubtless, be to find his work popping up on a site dedicated to a football simulation.

So let me explain. This post reports a study into how trees adapt to climactic variations in. It states that one “might expect things like xylem vessel diameter and density to change more or less monotonically (i.e., changing in a consistent manner as elevation rises or falls)”.

The truth, however, is more complex: “In fact…we found that different species modify certain traits in different combinations to adapt to local conditions, meaning that the monotonic expectation doesn’t always hold for individual traits”.

Evidently one needs to think not in terms of one trait at a time, but in terms of clusters of traits and, perhaps, the interaction between them. It was perhaps that word ‘trait’ that somehow put me in mind of FM.

And I was reminded of a post that I’ve cited before, namely the Facci Sognare post on Bradley Kuwas. Kuwas, according to the author, is by ‘all possible measurements’ a ‘poor player’ — yet he’s doing wonderfully well and scoring sensationally well.

I suspect this paradox arises from monotonic thinking. One might expect that a low finishing attribute (4) would a poor goalscorer make.

But supposing we look at Kuwas more broadly? He does have the ability to get into goal-scoring positions (NB acceleration, dribbling, work rate, acceleration pace). His technique is good enough to enable him to get some sort of effort in. His flair means that he’ll sometimes do this in unexpected ways, perhaps catching the goalkeeper out. And his long shots show he at least has a shot on him and can gain confidence from scoring that way, even though most of his efforts are from close in.

If someone said to me, here you are, sign this guy: he’s got finishing 4 and composure 8. He’ll be a regular goalscorer’ I would decline the offer. But the evidence suggests I’d be wrong.

As the author, CJA Bradshaw, wrote in the original post: “Basically this means that without the benefit of measuring multiple traits, you might incorrectly predict a trait value at a certain elevation assuming monotonic behaviour”.

I should add that I actually follow ConservationBytes to learn more about conservation and ecology. I find it an excellent read, so invite you to explore the site.

31 Mar 20 Kuwas



Just a quick post today, my last one for March. Like probably most of you, I’ve been trying to pretend to be as normal as possible despite the COVID-19 surrealism all around me. But even COVID-19 has shifted my research to a small degree.

But I’m not going to talk about the global pandemic right now (I can almost hear the collective sigh of relief). Instead, I’m going to go back to topic and discuss a paper that I’ve just co-authored.

Last year I went to China’s Yunnan Province where I met some fantastic colleagues at the Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden who were doing some very cool stuff with the variation in plant functional traits across environmental gradients.

Well, those colleagues invited me to participate in one those research projects, and I’m happy to say that the result has just been published in Forests.

Measuring the functional traits of…

View original post 370 more words

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