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The consistency found in size structure across tropical rainforests appears to be driven by competition for light among small individual trees following a break in the canopy cover. Photo credit: Caroline Farrior

Tropical rainforests play a vital role in the well-being of our planet, soaking up carbon dioxide and helping stabilize the global climate. Understanding the science of rainforests—the “lungs” of the planet—is critical to maintaining the fragile balance of Earth’s ecosystems.

A study from a team of researchers at the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS) at UT, Princeton University, and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute reveals striking new findings about the structure of tropical rainforests and how the trees in them interact with one another. The study, published today in the journal Science, suggests important new recommendations for how scientists study and model tropical rainforests. Continue reading on the NIMBioS website.