Masatoshi Katabuchi (片渕正紀)

I am an Associate Professor at Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden (XTBG), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). My research focuses on using functional traits and statistical and simulation models to better understand forest (or any kind of) diversity, including how they respond to climate change.


August 2021

  • New paper, led by Chen Ya-Jun, on hydraulic failure and plant dieback is now online in Ecology Letters

September 2020

  • New paper, led by Chen Ya-Jun, on vulnerability curves methods is now online in New Phytologist

February 2020

  • New paper, led by Nathan Swenson, on temporal turnover of forest functional composition is published in Ecological Monographs

July 2020

  • New R package ztpln for Zero-Truncated Poisson Lognormal Distribution is available on CRAN

October 2019

June 2019

September 2018

  • New paper, led by Sreekar Rachakonda, on spatial scale of beta diversity is now online in Royal Society Open Science

August 2018

  • New paper, led by Daniel Johnson, on tree survival across the tropics is now online in Nature Ecology & Evolution

May 2018

  • New paper, led by Jeanne L. D. Osnas and Jeremy Lichstein, on divergent drivers of leaf trait variation is now online in PNAS

August 2017

July 2017

  • New paper on temporal tunrover of tropical tree species is now online in Ecology.

May 2017

  • New paper, led by Yuanzhi Li and Bill Shipley, on functional hypervolume with intraspecific variation is now online in Journal of Ecology

March 2017

  • New preprint posted on bioRxiv on statistical framework of leaf trait variation.

Community assembly and dynamics of tropical trees

How tropical forest tree communities are assembled from species pool? Numerous hypotheses have been proposed to explain patterns of diversity in tropical tree communities. For example, we showed that soil fertility works as a strong habitat filter for a tropical forest tree community. A long-term goal of this work is to create a more quantitative approach for understanding community assembly rules and for predicting future biodiversity.

The composition of natural communities is changing as species respond to multiple anthropogenic drivers. We are contrasting multiple-level (i.e., species, community…) analyses of change in the functional composition in tropical forests to gain mechanistic understanding of forest responses.

Leaf functional diversity

Across the global flora, photosynthetic and metabolic rates depend more strongly on leaf area than leaf mass. In contrast, intraspecific variation in these rates is strongly mass-dependent. This inconstancy poses a fundamental question for ecophysiologists, as well as challenge for accurately representing leaf function in dynamic global vegetation models (DVGMs).

We are developing new quantitative framework to understand causes and consequences of leaf trait variation.



  1. Decomposing leaf mass into photosynthetic and structural components explains divergent patterns of trait variation within and among plant species
    Katabuchi M, Kitajima K, Wright SJ, Bael SAV, Osnas JL, and Lichstein JW.
    bioRxiv 2017
    10.1101/116855 Github


  1. Hydraulic Prediction of Drought-Induced Plant Dieback and Top-Kill Depends on Leaf Habit and Growth Form
    Chen Y, Choat B, Sterck F, Maenpuen P, Katabuchi M, Zhang S, Tomlinson KW, Oliveira RS, Zhang Y, Shen J, Cao K, and Jansen S.
    Ecology Letters 2021
  2. Quantifying Vulnerability to Embolism in Tropical Trees and Lianas Using Five Methods: Can Discrepancies Be Explained by Xylem Structural Traits?
    Chen Y, Maenpuen P, Zhang Y, Barai K, Katabuchi M, Gao H, Kaewkamol S, Tao L, and Zhang J.
    New Phytologist 2021


  1. Long-Term Shifts in the Functional Composition and Diversity of a Tropical Dry Forest: A 30-Yr Study
    Swenson NG, Hulshof CM, Katabuchi M, and Enquist BJ.
    Ecol. Monogr. 2020


  1. Climate sensitive size-dependent survival in tropical trees
    Johnson DJ, Needham J, Xu C, Massoud EC, Davies SJ, Anderson-Teixeira KJ, Bunyavejchewin S, Chambers JQ, Chang-Yang C, Chiang J, Chuyong GB, Condit R, Cordell S, Fletcher C, Giardina CP, Giambelluca TW, Gunatilleke N, Gunatilleke S, Hsieh C, Hubbell S, Inman-Narahari F, Kassim AR, Katabuchi M, Kenfack D, Litton CM, Lum S, Mohamad M, Nasardin M, Ong PS, Ostertag R, Sack L, Swenson NG, Sun IF, Tan S, Thomas DW, Thompson J, Umaña MN, Uriarte M, Valencia R, Yap S, Zimmerman J, McDowell NG, and McMahon SM.
    Nature Ecology & Evolution 2018
  2. Spatial scale changes the relationship between beta diversity, species richness and latitude
    Sreekar R, Katabuchi M, Nakamura A, Corlett RT, Slik JWF, Fletcher C, He F, Weiblen GD, Shen G, Xu H, Sun I, Cao K, Ma K, Chang L, Cao M, Jiang M, Gunatilleke IAUN, Ong P, Yap S, Gunatilleke CVS, Novotny V, Brockelman WY, Xiang W, Mi X, Li X, Wang X, Qiao X, Li Y, Tan S, Condit R, Harrison RD, and Koh LP.
    Open Science 2018
  3. Divergent drivers of leaf trait variation within species, among species, and among functional groups
    Osnas JLD, Katabuchi M, Kitajima K, Wright SJ, Reich PB, Van Bael SA, Kraft NJB, Samaniego MJ, Pacala SW, and Lichstein JW.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 2018


  1. Contrasting outcomes of species- and community-level analyses of the temporal consistency of functional composition
    Katabuchi M, Wright SJ, Swenson NG, Feeley KJ, Condit R, Hubbell SP, and Davies SJ.
    Ecology 2017
    10.1002/ecy.1952 Github
  2. Habitat filtering determines the functional niche occupancy of plant communities worldwide
    Li Y, Shipley B, Price JN, L. Dantas V, Tamme R, Westoby M, Siefert A, Schamp BS, Spasojevic MJ, Jung V, Laughlin DC, Richardson SJ, Bagousse-Pinguet YL, Schöb C, Gazol A, Prentice HC, Gross N, Overton J, Cianciaruso MV, Louault F, Kamiyama C, Nakashizuka T, Hikosaka K, Sasaki T, Katabuchi M, Dussault CF, Gaucherand S, Chen N, Vandewalle M, and Batalha MA.
    Journal of Ecology 2017


  1. Identifying indicator species of elevation: Comparing the utility of woody plants, ants and moths for long-term monitoring
    Nakamura A, Burwell CJ, Ashton LA, Laidlaw MJ, Katabuchi M, and Kitching RL.
    Austral Ecology 2016
  2. Vertical stratification of moths across elevation and latitude
    Ashton LA, Nakamura A, Basset Y, Burwell CJ, Cao M, Eastwood R, Odell E, Oliveira EG, Hurley K, Katabuchi M, Maunsell S, McBroom J, Schmidl J, Sun Z, Tang Y, Whitaker T, Laidlaw MJ, McDonald WJF, and Kitching RL.
    Journal of Biogeography 2016
  3. Trait-Based Approaches for Understanding Species Niche, Coexistence, and Functional Diversity in Subalpine Moorlands
    Hikosaka K, Sasaki T, Kamiyama C, Katabuchi M, Oikawa S, Shimazaki M, Kimura H, and Nakashizuka T.
    In Structure and Function of Mountain Ecosystems in Japan 2016


  1. Impact of Striped-Squirrel Nectar-Robbing Behaviour on Gender Fitness in Alpinia roxburghii Sweet (Zingiberaceae)
    Deng X, Mohandass D, Katabuchi M, Hughes AC, and Roubik DW.
    PLOS ONE 2015
  2. A global meta-analysis of the relative extent of intraspecific trait variation in plant communities
    Siefert A, Violle C, Chalmandrier L, Albert CH, Taudiere A, Fajardo A, Aarssen LW, Baraloto C, Carlucci MB, Cianciaruso MV, L. Dantas V, Bello F, Duarte LDS, Fonseca CR, Freschet GT, Gaucherand S, Gross N, Hikosaka K, Jackson B, Jung V, Kamiyama C, Katabuchi M, Kembel SW, Kichenin E, Kraft NJB, Lagerström A, Bagousse-Pinguet YL, Li Y, Mason N, Messier J, Nakashizuka T, Overton JM, Peltzer DA, Pérez-Ramos IM, Pillar VD, Prentice HC, Richardson S, Sasaki T, Schamp BS, Schöb C, Shipley B, Sundqvist M, Sykes MT, Vandewalle M, and Wardle DA.
    Ecology Letters 2015
  3. LeafArea: an R package for rapid digital image analysis of leaf area
    Katabuchi M.
    Ecological Research 2015
    10.1007/s11284-015-1307-x Github
  4. The role of human disturbance in island biogeography of arthropods and plants: an information theoretic approach
    Nakamura A, Burwell CJ, Lambkin CL, Katabuchi M, McDougall A, Raven RJ, and Neldner VJ.
    Journal of Biogeography 2015


  1. Leaf-trait responses to environmental gradients in moorland communities: contribution of intraspecific variation, species replacement and functional group replacement
    Kamiyama C, Katabuchi M, Sasaki T, Shimazaki M, Nakashizuka T, and Hikosaka K.
    Ecological Research 2014
  2. Vulnerability of moorland plant communities to environmental change: consequences of realistic species loss on functional diversity
    Sasaki T, Katabuchi M, Kamiyama C, Shimazaki M, Nakashizuka T, and Hikosaka K.
    Journal of Applied Ecology 2014


  1. Robustness of trait distribution metrics for community assembly studies under the uncertainties of assembly processes
    Aiba M, Katabuchi M, Takafumi H, Matsuzaki SS, Sasaki T, and Hiura T.
    Ecology 2013
  2. Relative importance of habitat use, range expansion, and speciation in local species diversity ofAnolislizards in Cuba
    Cádiz A, Nagata N, Katabuchi M, Dı́az LM, Echenique-Dı́az LM, Akashi HD, Makino T, and Kawata M.
    Ecosphere 2013
  3. Relationships between functional traits and the ability of forest tree species to reestablish in secondary forest and enrichment plantations in the uplands of northern Thailand
    Asanok L, Marod D, Duengkae P, Pranmongkol U, Kurokawa H, Aiba M, Katabuchi M, and Nakashizuka T.
    Forest Ecology and Management 2013
  4. Variations in Species Composition of Moorland Plant Communities Along Environmental Gradients Within a Subalpine Zone in Northern Japan
    Sasaki T, Katabuchi M, Kamiyama C, Shimazaki M, Nakashizuka T, and Hikosaka K.
    Wetlands 2013


  1. Nestedness and niche-based species loss in moorland plant communities
    Sasaki T, Katabuchi M, Kamiyama C, Shimazaki M, Nakashizuka T, and Hikosaka K.
    Oikos 2012
  2. Diversity partitioning of moorland plant communities across hierarchical spatial scales
    Sasaki T, Katabuchi M, Kamiyama C, Shimazaki M, Nakashizuka T, and Hikosaka K.
    Biodiversity and Conservation 2012
  3. Soil resource availability shapes community trait structure in a species-rich dipterocarp forest
    Katabuchi M, Kurokawa H, Davies SJ, Tan S, and Nakashizuka T.
    Journal of Ecology 2012


  1. Development of 17 microsatellite markers for Ceratosolen constrictus, the pollinating fig wasp of Ficus fistulosa
    Katabuchi M, Isagi Y, and Nakashizuka T.
    Molecular Ecology Resources 2008
  2. Documenting the Effect of Foundress Number in a Dioecious Fig, Ficus fistulosa, in Malaysia
    Katabuchi M, Harrison RD, and Nakashizuka T.
    Biotropica 2008

LeafArea (R package)

The package LeafArea allows one to conveniently run ImageJ software within R. The package provides a user-friendly, automated tool for measuring leaf area from digital images ( Katabuchi 2015). CRAN Github

mglmn (R package)

Tools for univariate and multivariate generalized linear models with model averaging and null model technique (used in Nakamura et al. 2015). CRAN Github

ztpln (R package)

Functions for obtaining the density, random variates and maximum likelihood estimates of the Zero-truncated Poisson lognormal distribution and their mixture distribution. CRAN Github



Tohoku University Japan
2012 Ph.D Graduate School of Life Sciences
2009 M.S. Graduate School of Life Sciences
2007 B.S. Department of Biology

Professional experience

2017- Postdoctoral Research Associate, Michigan State University, USA
2016-2017 Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of Florida, USA
2014-2016 JSPS Postdoctoral Fellow for Research Abroad, University of Florida, USA
2012-2014 Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China
2012 Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Tohoku University, Japan
2010-2012 JSPS Research Fellow, DC2, Tohoku University, Japan


Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden

Chinese Academy of Sciences

Menglun, Mengla, Yunnan 666303 China