- Dispersal limitation in epiphytic bromeliad communities in a Costa Rican fragmented montane landscape
- Journal of Tropical Ecology
- Volume | Issue number
- 25 | 1
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED)
Transformation of tropical forests is likely to affect seed-dispersal patterns and influence the composition of epiphytic plant communities in human-altered habitats. We tested this hypothesis by carrying out a comparative study of seed influx, survival and growth of transplanted seedlings of epiphytic bromeliads among isolated trees in six pasture areas, six forest edges and six forest sites in a montane area in Costa Rica. In total, 72 traps trapped 1285 seeds over a 2-mo period in the dry season of 2003. For all four investigated bromeliad genera, Catopsis, Guzmania, Tillandsia and Werauhia, the number of trapped seeds in each habitat followed a pattern similar to the number of fruiting individuals in the vicinity of the traps. Traps in forest edges (30) were 1.9 times more likely to collect seeds than traps at forest interiors (30) and pasture trees (12), the latter showing similar probabilities of catching seeds. After 1 y, survival and growth of 3660 transplanted seedlings from three bromeliad species was significantly higher in forest interiors, providing no explanation for the lower abundance of fruiting adults in that habitat. These results suggest that the successful establishment of epiphytic bromeliads in forest interiors is mainly dispersal-limited. If corroborated, differences in abundance among species at each habitat are likely related to differences in growth rates and reproductive success. Further studies on the growth and mortality of seedlings up to the flowering stage, however, are needed.
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