Skip to main content
padlock icon - secure page this page is secure

Microclimate, light adaptation and desiccation tolerance of epiphytic bryophytes in two Venezuelan cloud forests

Buy Article:

$52.00 + tax (Refund Policy)

Abstract Aim 

Analysis of microclimate factors and physiological responses determining survival and growth of epiphytic bryophytes in the lower canopy and trunk space of north-Andean cloud forests. Location 

Two cloud forests at 2000–2400 m in the northern Andes near Mérida, Venezuela. Methods 

Data-logging of dry and wet-season temperature, relative humidity (r.h.) and photosynthetically-active radiation (PAR) for month-long periods, and laboratory measurements of desiccation tolerance and light responses of selected epiphytic bryophytes. Results 

Rainfall averages 20 mm or less in January and February, and 200 mm or more from August to October, but is very variable at all seasons. The proportion of time ‘wet’ (continuous 100% r.h.) in the months sampled ranged from 8.5% to 52.2% or more; a dry/wet-season range between 20% and 40% is probably commoner. The length of ‘wet’ and ‘dry’ periods approximated log-normal distributions, with mid-points for wet periods ranging from 2.8 to 10.7 h, and dry periods from 6.2 to 17.1 h. The longest recorded dry period was 143 h. Humidity typically rose during the night to > 90% r.h., reaching 100% for significant periods (implying cloudwater (fog) deposition) on about one night in two in all seasons. Of six bryophytes of pendulous growth form, all survived periods of at least a few days’ desiccation; most recovered better from high than low humidities. Measured 95% light-saturation values ranged from 110 to 256 mol m−2 s−1, somewhat but not greatly higher than ambient light levels Main conclusions 

Environmental conditions in the cloud forests are probably near-optimal for epiphytic bryophytes, but in even the wettest forest these plants must tolerate at least short periods of drying at any time of year, and longer periods seasonally. Interception of cloudwater droplets from moving air is likely to be an important source of water for bryophytes of pendant and other diffuse life forms, especially in periods of low rainfall. Absorption of water from near-saturated air is probably of little physiological significance. Bryophytes of these life-forms are notably conspicuous in tropical-montane cloud forests. They remain prominent into humid temperate regions such as southern Chile, New Zealand and Macaronesia, but progressively disappear at higher latitudes with the stresses of increasing seasonality.
No References
No Citations
No Supplementary Data
No Article Media
No Metrics

Keywords: Andes; PAR responses; Venezuela; chlorophyll fluorescence; compensation period; life forms; mosses; relative humidity; saturation deficit; water relations

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Centro Jardin Botánico, Universidad de los Andes, Mérida, Venezuela 2: Department of Horticulture, Philipp-Holzmann-Schule, Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Publication date: May 1, 2006

  • Access Key
  • Free content
  • Partial Free content
  • New content
  • Open access content
  • Partial Open access content
  • Subscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed content
  • Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more