The Journal of Ecology awarded the 2018 Harper Prize to Rutuja Chitra-Tarak. According to the editors, her paper is an “excellent and novel example of integrating different approaches to answer an important ecological issue. In this case, her study uses a combination of demographic data, hydrological data, and eco-hydrological modelling to relate tropical tree mortality rates to hydrological niches. In a seasonally dry tropical forest in the Western Ghats biodiversity hotspot in India, 12 common tree species were found to differently partition the hydrological niche by accessing water at different depths. As a result, differences in growth rates and survival reflected their demographic response to periods of drought over multi-annual scales. This work is a clear example of how niche relationships can help us understand species coexistence.”

More details on the prize and on Rutuja can be found here and here. Congratulations to Rutuja and to all the team !


Chitra‐Tarak R., Ruiz L., Dattaraja H.S., et al. The roots of the drought: Hydrology and water uptake strategies mediate forest‐wide demographic response to precipitation. J Ecol 2018, 106:4. DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12925