Co-ordinating Editor: O. Wildi.
Fate of epiphytes on phorophytes with different architectural characteristics along the perturbation gradient of Sabal mexicana forests in Veracruz, Mexico
Article first published online: 22 OCT 2009
© 2009 International Association for Vegetation Science
Journal of Vegetation Science
Volume 21, Issue 1, pages 6–15, February 2010
How to Cite
Aguirre, A., Guevara, R., García, M. and López, J.C. (2010), Fate of epiphytes on phorophytes with different architectural characteristics along the perturbation gradient of Sabal mexicana forests in Veracruz, Mexico. Journal of Vegetation Science, 21: 6–15. doi: 10.1111/j.1654-1103.2009.01131.x
- Issue published online: 14 JAN 2010
- Article first published online: 22 OCT 2009
- Received 26 May 2009;Accepted 18 September 2009.
- Beta diversity;
- Epiphytic ferns;
- Forest fragmentation;
- Ophioglossum palmatum;
- Phylogenetic diversity
Question: Vascular epiphytes and hemiepiphytes (E/HE) in neotropical forests account for a large fraction of plant richness, but little is known of how the interplay between phorophyte architectural characteristics and habitat perturbation affect communities of E/HE.
Location: Sabal mexicana forests in a coastal area of Veracruz, Mexico.
Methods: We compared communities of E/HE on phorophytes with different architectural characteristics – the palm S. mexicana and non-palm phorophytes – in three environments: conserved sites, perturbed sites and small regenerated forest fragments. We combined traditional (abundance, species richness, similarity and complementarity indices) and more recent (phylogenetic diversity) metrics to describe the communities of E/HE.
Results: Overall, we recorded 924 E/HE individuals (nine families, 16 genera and 21 species). The abundance and species richness of E/HE was higher on palms than on non-palm phorophytes. Abundance-based complementarities between phorophytes and sites were high. We detected clear changes in community structure of E/HE with habitat perturbation, but there were no effects on the phylogenetic diversity of the E/HE community. Palm phorophytes hosted a more phylogenetically diverse community of E/HE than did non-palm phorophytes.
Conclusions: Palm phorophytes are key elements supporting the conservation of resilient communities of E/HE in S. mexicana forest. Habitat fragmentation has a strong effect on the structure of the E/HE community in S. mexicana forests. Ferns are the group of epiphytes most severely affected by habitat perturbation, but we detected no significant effect on the phylogenetic diversity of the community.