Research Station La Gamba

Overview of Research Project

General Remarks on Epiphylls

Description of Selected Species

Aphanolejeunea costaricense

Aphanolejeunea ephemeroides

Aphanolejeunea winkleri

Ceratolejeunea coarina

Ceratolejeunea cornuta

Cololejeunea obliqua

Cololejeunea papillosa

Colura tortifolia

Crossomitrium patrisiae

Cyclolejeunea convexistipa

Cyclolejeunea peruviana

Diplasiolejeunea cf pellucida

Drepanolejeuanea inchoata

Drepanolejeunea cf mosenii

Drepanolejeunea infundibulata

Drepanolejeunea cf lichenicola

Fulfordianthus pterobryoides

Lejeunea caespitosa

Lejeunea controversa

Lejeunea filipes

Lejeunea sp.

Leptolejeunea cf ellipta

Leptolejeunea obovata

Lopholejeunea nigricans

Microlejeunea cf aphanell

Odontolejeunea decemdentata

Odontolejeunea lunulata

Odontolejeunea rhomalea

Oryzolejeunea saccatiloba

Prionolejeunea saccatiloba

Radula cf stenocalyx

Radula flaccida

Radula yanoella

Rectolejeunea berteroana

Taxilejeunea cf debilis

Taxilejeunea sp.


Ecology and Diversity of Epiphyllous Liverworts
  in the Understorey of the Esquinas Rainforest, Costa Rica"

A Short Description:

1. Introduction

The phyllosphere (upper surface of leaves) of understorey plants in tropical rainforests frequently show a dense cover of epiphylls. These organisms belong to various taxonomic groups, where foliicolous lichens (Farkas & Sipman 1993) and foliose liverworts (Gradstein 1997, Lücking 1997) are the most frequent. Moreover numerous members of bacteria, cyanobacteria, algae and fungi occur.
The hot spot of tropical bryophytes are located in montane cloud forests, where they grow terrestrial, lithophytic, epiphytic and epiphyllous. In lowland rain forests (0 - 500 m a.s.l.) diversity is usually rather low. Bryophytes of lowland rain forests are dominated by liverworts belonging to the family of Lejeuneaceae, which often colonize upper surfaces of vascular plants with humid conditions (Gradstein, Churchill, Salazar-Allen 2001).
The main focus of my research is the colonization of vascular plants with epiphyllous bryophytes and influences of environmental parameters. Collection of leaf samples and microclimate parameters were performed along a topographical transect in the lowland forest "Esquinas", southwest coast of Costa Rica (N 8°41´, W 83°13´), an area with high precipitation (6240 mm/a).

2. Material and Methods

Three characteristic sample sites - ravine, slope, ridge - were selected on the assumption of different microclimates - humid, intermediate, comparatively dry - leading to the hypothesis that the different climatic parameters will cause differences in epiphyll colonization.
Four species of understorey plants with five individuals on each sampling site were identified: Carludovica drudei (Cyclanthaceae), Asplundia pittieri (Cylanthaceae), Costus laevis (Costaceae), Dieffenbachia sp. (Araceae).
From each plant two leaves were collected, leaf area and percentage of epiphyll cover (only bryophytes) were determined and the leaves dried and archived in vouchers for later taxonomic analysis.
Taxonomic analysis of collected material was carried out at "Systematische Botanik, University Göttingen" and "Dep. CVL, University of Vienna". As the colonization of the leaves by epiphyllous bryophytes can result in extremely heterogenous growth patterns random sampling was chosen to select 12 locations on each leaf. For each location measuring 1 cm² all bryophyte species were identified by means of binocular, microscope and key information from literature.
Microclimatic parameters - humidity, temperature and available light - were recorded for each sampling site. Humidity and temperature were recorded by data loggers. For determination of potential light consumption hemispherical photographs by means of a fisheye lens were taken and processed with the tool "Hemiview Canopy Analysis Software 2.1" (Delta-T Devices Inc.).
Data on occurrence of identified species, hostplant characteristic, microclimate parameters and available light will be submitted to statistical analysis.

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