New Advances in Fern Ecology
Monge González, M. L. , Mehltreter, K. .
Leaf phenology of three fern epiphytes in a Mexican cloud forest.
THE tropical cloud forest is the ecosystem with the highest fern diversity, with over 50% as epiphytes. Our study was conducted in the private cloud forest reserve of Las Cañadas (Huatusco, Veracruz, 19º10’35”N, 96º58’19”W) located at 1300 m asl. We investigated the differences between leaf phenology patterns of three epiphytic fern species growing on two different hosts: Terpsichore asplenifolia (Ta) and Elaphoglossum lonchophyllum (El) on tree ferns, and Pecluma sursumcurrens (Ps) on angiosperm trees. For each species we tagged at least 30 individuals and measured the following parameters during one year at monthly intervals: leaf number, leaf growth, leaf production, leaf mortality and fertility. Leaf life span was calculated as the mean leaf number divided by the annual leaf production. Although the two epiphyte species on the tree ferns had a higher mean leaf number (Ta 7 leaves, El 9 leaves) than Pecluma sursumcurrens (4 leaves) on angiosperm trees, all three species had 1. the highest mean leaf number at the end of the rainy season in October, 2. leaf life spans of more than two years and 3. a relatively low production of fertile leaves. Leaf growth and leaf production showed one (El and Ps) or two peaks (Ta) during the year, the first from June to August in the rainy season, and the second, if at all, during December at the beginning of the dry season. Consequently, we conclude that the identity of the host tree species of fern epiphytes is of less importance to most phenological leaf parameters than the macroclimatic conditions at the study site. Further studies may confirm if fern epiphytes have a better performance (e.g. higher mean leaf number, increasing fertility, etc.) on tree ferns than on angiosperm host trees.
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1 - Instituto de Ecología, A.C., Departamento Ecología Funcional, km 2.5 antigua carretera a Coatepec No. 351, Congregación El Haya, A.P. 63, Xalapa, Veracruz, 91070, Mexico
Presentation Type: Symposium or Colloquium Presentation
Date: Monday, July 31st, 2006
Time: 11:30 AM