Dotted lines and asynchronous behaviour in tropical trees

A lot of the Jungle Rhythms project is shrouded in secrets. Some of them more elusive then others. One of these secrets is the reason for the dashed appearance of some of the life cycle events in the hand written notes, instead of the usual full lines or cross hatched lines.

Dotted lines in a Jungle Rhythms yearly section

These dashed patterns are very difficult to transcribe. The question therefore remains, should it be transcribed to begin with? From a data retention point of view the answer is simple, yes. Any data which is not marked, as written in the original, is data lost. However, this might not be a convincing argument for most citizen scientists, as they are a nuisance to mark, nor does it explain the underlying nature of this signal.

Browsing through some of the data I found evidence for mixed use of dashed / alternating patterns and full lines (marking a continuous process, see right side of the example above). This suggest that the alternating pattern is true, and not a different style of marking continuous life cycle events.

Tree displaying multiple life cycles

Thinking about the dotted line problem, I realized that this might have been the way to mark the occurrence of multiple asynchronous growth phases on the same tree. Partial blooming, fruit and leaf development are common among tropical species and obviously hard to classify as a continuous and discrete process, the tree doesn’t behave as one.
A picture I took near the Congo river in Yangambi shows a tree displaying three different leaf development stages is shown above. Here, the dull green leaves are the old ones, the bright green leaves are new ones, while the yellow / red ‘leaves’ are either very young leaves or fruit

Until I find the protocol used in creating these tables I will not know for sure. However, cross referencing some species with known life cycle behaviour in existing databases could confirm that dotted lines in the markings are those with partial blooming / leaf out. My search for answers continues.