We created the Liana Ecology Project in 2011 as a way to share our research ideas and findings with other scientists and with the general public. Our goal is to provide an interactive forum for researchers worldwide to contribute their work to the rapidly expanding field of liana ecology. We hope that researchers will contribute to the site by uploading their liana-related research publications, and metadata descriptions of their data and study site. With active participation by the global liana community, we can formulate a clear picture of the most up-to-date research questions are currently being addressed, the major questions that are yet unresolved, and the geographical areas that need more attention.

The Liana Ecology Project was created by the Schnitzer Lab at Marquette University The main research objectives of the Schnitzer lab are to develop and test fundamental conceptual ecological theory with plant communities. The Schnitzer Lab focuses on understanding the mechanisms that regulate and maintain plant species diversity, the causes and consequences of plant diversity, the mechanisms that control plant abundance and distribution, and the causes and consequences of plant competition. 

The Schnitzer Lab has several ongoing, National Science Foundation (NSF) - sponsored research projects that use a combination of large-scale long-term experimental and descriptive approaches to investigate the ecology and biogeography of lianas. Our current projects include investigating mechanistic explanations for the distribution and biogeography of plants, the increase in liana abundance and biomass in tropical forests, the community-level effects of lianas on the maintenance of tree species diversity and their effects on tree community composition, and the ecosystem-level effects of lianas on forest carbon, nutrient, and water storage and fluxes. This work is being conducted in the Republic of Panama in collaboration with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI).  

In the slider boxes below, we provide descriptions of some of our research projects, including representative publications. Please scroll through the boxes to read about each project. 

The Lianas of the Barro Colorado Island 50 hectare plot, Republic of Panama

(NSF DEB-0613666, NSF IOS-1558093)

Do lianas alter carbon, nutrient, and water dynamics in tropical forests?

A large-scale experimental test

(NSF DEB-1019436) 


Explaining the Distribution and Dominance of Lianas and Tree Species – A Test of the

Seasonal Growth Advantage Hypothesis

(NSF DEB-0845071)