Epiphyte colonisation of fog nets in montane forests of the Taita Hills, Kenya

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Stam , Å , He , X , Kaasalainen , U , Toivonen , M E , Enroth , J , Räsänen , M & Rikkinen , J 2020 , ' Epiphyte colonisation of fog nets in montane forests of the Taita Hills, Kenya ' , Annales Botanici Fennici , vol. 57 , no. 4-6 , pp. 227-238 . https://doi.org/10.5735/085.057.0406

Title: Epiphyte colonisation of fog nets in montane forests of the Taita Hills, Kenya
Author: Stam, Åsa; He, Xiaolan; Kaasalainen, Ulla; Toivonen, Mikko Evert; Enroth, Johannes; Räsänen, Matti; Rikkinen, Jouko
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Organismal and Evolutionary Biology Research Programme
University of Helsinki, Botany
University of Helsinki, University of Göttingen
University of Helsinki, Department of Computer Science
University of Helsinki, Organismal and Evolutionary Biology Research Programme
University of Helsinki, INAR Physics
University of Helsinki, Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science (HELSUS)
Date: 2020-10
Language: eng
Number of pages: 12
Belongs to series: Annales Botanici Fennici
ISSN: 0003-3847
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/316163
Abstract: The dispersal ecology of tropical non-vascular epiphytes has rarely been experimentally investigated. We studied epiphyte colonisation on 1 × 1 m polyethene nets placed for four years at seven sites at different elevations in montane forests in the Taita Hills, Kenya. During the first year the nets were also used to measure fog deposition. We predicted that differences in growth conditions would affect colonisation and subsequent growth of non-vascular epiphytes and result in clear differences in epiphyte cover and biomass, and community composition among sites. After four years the nets were taken down for determination of epiphyte cover and biomass. The diversity of established liverworts and macrolichens was also examined. Many liverwort and macrolichen species established diverse communities on the nets placed in the moist upper-montane zone. This was in contrast with the situation in the drier lower-montane zone where only green algae and crustose lichens were able to colonise most nets. Light intensity was an important determinant of epiphyte community composition, with liverworts dominating on nets under closed forest canopies and lichens dominating at more open sites. Atmospheric moisture was also important, with lichens benefiting from abundant fog deposition at open and windy sites. The dry weight of epiphytes (per unit area) on lichen-dominated nets was greater than on liverwort-dominated nets, while the highest cover was generally observed on liverwort-dominated nets. Our results demonstrate that polyethylene nets can be effectively used to study colonisation of non-vascular epiphytes as well as the abiotic and biotic factors controlling epiphyte colonisation and community composition in tropical forests. The liverworts Acanthocoleus chrysophyllus and Diplasiolejeunea kraussiana were new additions to the Kenyan bryophyte flora.
Subject: 11831 Plant biology
TROPICAL RAIN-FOREST
CLIMATE-CHANGE
DESICCATION TOLERANCE
BRYOPHYTE COMMUNITIES
ALTITUDINAL ZONATION
CLOUD-FOREST
LICHENS
GROWTH
DIVERSITY
PATTERNS
TROPICAL RAIN-FOREST
CLIMATE-CHANGE
DESICCATION TOLERANCE
BRYOPHYTE COMMUNITIES
ALTITUDINAL ZONATION
CLOUD-FOREST
LICHENS
GROWTH
DIVERSITY
PATTERNS
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