Departamental II
Area of Biodiversity and Conservation
Universidad Rey Juan Carlos
c/ Tulipán, s/n.
E-28933 Móstoles (Madrid)

Fax:      +34 91 664 7490
E-mail: lars.markesteijn at; l.markesteijn at

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Short CV

2020 – Distinguished Research Lecturer, Rey Juan Carlos University

2019 – Senior Lecturer in Forest Sciences, Bangor University

2016 – 2019 Lecturer in Forest Sciences, Bangor University

2016 – 2019 Sêr Cymru II MSCA COFUND Research Fellow, Bangor University

2013 – 2016 Postdoctoral researcher, University of Oxford

2010 – 2016 Postdoctoral fellow, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI)

2010 – 2012 Rubicon laureate, Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO)

2011 – 2012 Visiting scientist, Spanish National Research Council (CSIC)

2010 – 2012 Postdoctoral fellow, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

2005-2010 Junior Researcher, Wageningen University

2010 Ph.D. Tropical forest ecology, Wageningen University

2005 M.Sc. Tropical land use, Wageningen University

2002 B.Sc. Tropical land use, Wageningen University

Current position

Distinguised Research Lecturer, Beatriz Galindo fellow.

In addition to being a Research Lecturer at Biodiversos, I am a Senior Lecturer in Forest Science in the School of Natural Sciences at Bangor University (UK), and affiliated with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) in Panama.

I teach Environmental Restoration in the degree of Environmental Sciences and Impact of the Human Activity on the Biosphere: Processes of Global Change in the degree in Biology.

Research lines

My research interests are broad, but I am foremost fascinated by biodiversity and as such most of my work is carried out in biologically complex tropical forest ecosystems. My research addresses processes underlying function and co-existence of tropical plants and mechanisms of biodiversity generation and maintenance. I take a special interest in density-dependent mortality or negative density dependence (NDD), as mediated by plant natural enemies, and how it affects regeneration dynamics of tropical plants. Furthermore, I work on physiological plant responses to limiting resources, resource competition, and tolerance to environmental and global change – principally with respect to water and light. I explore the effects of variation in plant functional traits on individual plant performance and species distribution from local to cross-ecosystem scales.

Scientific publications

Browne, L.;  Markesteijn, L.;  Engelbrecht, B. M. J.;  Jones, F. A.; Lewis, O. T.;  Manzané-Pinzón, E.;  Wright, S. J.;  Comita, L. S. (In press).  Increased mortality of tropical tree seedlings during the extreme 2015–16 El Niño. Global Change Biology.

Kattge, J.; Bönisch, G.; Díaz, S.; … Markesteijn, L.; et al. (2020). TRY plant trait database – enhanced coverage and open access. Global Change Biology 26: 119–188.

Van der Sande, M.; Poorter, L.; Schnitzer, S. A.; Markesteijn, L. (2019). The hydraulic efficiency–safety trade-off differs between lianas and trees. Ecology 100: e02666.

Solé, R.; Gripenberg, S.; Lewis, O. T.; Markesteijn, L.; Barrios, H.; Ratz, T.; Ctvrtecka, R.; Butterill, P. T.; Segar, S. T.; Metz, M.; Dahl, C.; Rivera, M.; Viquez, K.; Ferguson, W.; Guevara, M.; Basset, Y. (2019). The role of herbivorous insects in the regeneration dynamics of Guazuma ulmifolia in Panama. Nature Conservation 32: 81-101.

Jeffs, C. T.; Kennedy, P.; Griffith, P.; Gripenberg, S.; Markesteijn, L.; Lewis, O. T. (2018). Seed predation by insects across a tropical forest precipitation gradient. Ecological Entomology 43: 813-822.

Ford, H.; Healey, J. R.; Markesteijn, L.; Smith, A. R. (2018). How does grazing management influence the functional diversity of oak woodland ecosystems? A plant trait approach. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 258: 154-161.

Cusack, D. F.; Markesteijn, L.; Condit, R.; Lewis, O. T.; Turner, B. L. (2018). Soil carbon stocks across tropical forests of Panama regulated by base cation effects on fine roots. Biogeochemistry 137: 253–266.

Weissflog, A.; Markesteijn, L.; Lewis, O. T.; Comita, L. S.; Engelbrecht, B. M. J. (2018). Contrasting patterns of insect herbivory and predation pressure across a tropical rainfall gradient. Biotropica 50: 302–311.

Crespo Bastias, C.; Fortunel, C.; Valladares, F.; Baraloto, C.; Benavides, R.; Cornwell, W.; Markesteijn, L.; De Oliviera, A. A.; Boelsums Sansevero, J. B.; Vaz, M. C.; Kraft, N. J. B. (2017). Intraspecific leaf trait variability along a boreal-to-tropical community diversity gradient. PLoS ONE 12: e0172495.

Waring, B. G.; Álvarez-Cansino, L.; Barry, K. E.; Becklund, K. K.; Dale, S.; Gei, M. G.; Lopez, O. R.; Markesteijn, L.; Mangan, S.; Rodriguez-Ronderos, M. E.; Segnitz, R. M.; Schnitzer, S. A.; Powers, J. S. (2015). Pervasive and strong effects of plants on soil chemistry: a meta-analysis of individual plant ‘Zinke’ effects. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 282: 20151001.

Falster, D. S.; Duursma, R. A.; … Markesteijn, L. et al. (2015). BAAD: a Biomass And Allometry Database for woody plants. Ecology 96: 1445-1445.

Sack, L.; Caringella, M.; Scoffoni, C.; Mason, C.; Rawls, M.; Markesteijn, L.; Poorter, L. (2014). Leaf vein length per area is not intrinsically scale dependent: avoiding measurement artefacts for accuracy and precision. Plant Physiology 166: 829-838.

Sterck, F.; Markesteijn, L.; Toledo, M.; Schieving, F.; Poorter, L. (2014). Sapling performance along resource gradients drives tree species distributions within and across tropical forests. Ecology 95: 2514-2525.

Salgado-Negret, B.; Peréz, F.; Markesteijn, L.; Jímenez-Castillo, M.; Armesto, J. J. (2013). Diverging drought tolerance strategies explain tree species distribution along a fog-dependent moisture gradient in a temperate rain forest. Oecologia 173: 625-635.

Van der Sande, M.; Poorter, L.; Schnitzer, S. A.; Markesteijn, L. (2013). Are lianas more drought tolerant than trees? A test for the role of hydraulic architecture and other leaf and stem traits. Oecologia 172: 961-973.

Sterck, F.; Markesteijn, L.; Schieving, F.; Poorter, L. (2011). Functional traits determine tradeoffs and niches in a tropical forest community. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of USA 108: 20627-20632.

Markesteijn, L.; Poorter, L.; Paz, H.; Sack, L.; Bongers, F. (2011). Ecological differentiation in xylem cavitation resistance is associated with stem and leaf structural traits. Plant Cell and Environment 34: 137-148.

Markesteijn, L.; Poorter, L.; Paz, H.; Sack, L.; Bongers, F. (2011). Hydraulics and life history of tropical dry forest tree species; coordination of species drought and shade tolerance. New Phytologist 191: 480-495.

Onoda, Y.; Westoby, M.; Adler, P. B.; Choong, A. M. F.; Clissold, F. J.; Cornelissen, J. H. C.; … Markesteijn, L.: … Yamashita, N. [29 authors] (2011). Global patterns of leaf mechanical properties. Ecology Letters 14: 301-312.

Markesteijn, L.; Iraipi, J.; Bongers, F.; Poorter, L. (2010). Seasonal variation in soil and plant water potentials in a Bolivian tropical moist and dry forest. Journal of Tropical Ecology 26: 497-508.

Sterck, F. J.; Couralet, C.; Nangendo, G.; Wassie, A.; Sahle, Y.; Sass-Klaassen, U.; Markesteijn, L.; Bekele, T.; Bongers, F. (2010). Juniperus procera (Cupressaceae) in Afromontane forests in Ethiopia: From tree growth and population dynamics to sustainable forest use. Pp. 291-303 In: Bongers, F.; Tennigkeit T. (eds.) Degraded forests in eastern Africa: management and restoration: 291-303. Earthscan Ltd., London.

Markesteijn, L.; Poorter, L. (2009). Seedling root morphology and biomass allocation of 62 tropical tree species in relation to drought- and shade-tolerance. Journal of Ecology 97: 311-325.

Markesteijn, L.; Poorter, L.; Yanguas-Fernández, E. (2008). La disponibilidad hídrica estacional y topográfica en un bosque seco y húmedo tropical y la variación en la morfología de las plántulas arbóreas. Revista Boliviana de Ecología y Conservación Ambiental 24: 27-42.

Poorter, L.; Markesteijn, L. (2008). Seedling traits determine drought tolerance of tropical tree species. Biotropica 40: 321-331.

Markesteijn, L.; Poorter, L.; Bongers, F. (2007). Light-dependent leaf trait variation in 43 tropical dry forest tree species. American Journal of Botany 94: 515-525.