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Ecology and life strategies of epiphytic bryophyte communities from the Arcto-Tertiary relict forests of the Black and Caspian Sea areas

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The Euxine-Caucasian-Hyrcanian floristic region is an outstanding forest refuge area, formerly densely covered by broad-leaved deciduous and mixed evergreen lowland and montane forests. Besides numerous relict species of Arcto-Tertiary and Indo-Malesian origin, a lush and dense epiphytic bryophyte flora can be observed, whose development is favoured by the humid to perhumid climate conditions. A first phytosociological analysis of this epiphytic bryophyte vegetation reveals two distinct zonal communities new to science, viz. the Palamocladio euchloronis-Leucodontetum immersi (lowland forests) and the Pseudoleskeello nervosae-Leucodontetum immersi (mountain forests), both harbouring Southwest Asian endemics, such as Forsstroemia remotifolia, Leucodon immersus and Palamocladium euchloron. Dependent on the site ecology, species assemblages and geographical range, one subassociation and a geographical variant can be further distinguished within the Palamocladio euchloronis-Leucodontetum immersi, while the more uniform Pseudoleskeello nervosae-Leucodontetum immersi comprises a geographical variant and an ecological variant, only. A life form and life strategy analysis of the communities confirms the common adaptive trends outlined for epiphytic bryophytes already in earlier studies.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2012

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  • Nova Hedwigia is an international journal publishing original, peer-reviewed papers on current issues of taxonomy, morphology, ultrastructure and ecology of all groups of cryptogamic plants, including cyanophytes/cyanobacteria and fungi. The half-tone plates in Nova Hedwigia are known for their high quality, which makes them especially suitable for the reproduction of photomicrographs and scanning and transmission electron micrographs.
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