Ecology of Pleopeltis conzatii in an Oak forest in Oaxaca, Mexico
ID: 613 / 271
Proposed Symposium Title: Ecology of Pleopeltis conzatii in an Oak forest in Oaxaca, Mexico
Demetria Mondragón, Adriana Ramírez-Martínez
Affiliations: Instituto Politécnico Nacional, CIIDIR-Oaxaca, Laboratory of Epiphytes.
Ferns are one of the groups with most epiphytic members their adaptations to survive in this environment along with being the first to conquer this environment, make them a model to study the epiphytic life. In this study we focused in Pleopeltis conzatti, an epiphytic fern endemic to Mexico. We collected data from December 2017 to December 2018 of all individuals growing on Quercus species in 0.1 ha plot. We determined its abundance, vertical distribution, population dynamics and its vegetative phenology. We found 88 P. conzatti individuals growing on two of the tree Quercus species present in the study plot (2.17±1.177 individuals/tree on Q. martinezii, 4±3.63 individuals/tree on Q. rugosa, 0 individuals/tree on Q. castanea). Their vertical distribution was: 33% in zone 1-2, 41% in zone 3, 17% in zone 4 and 9% in zone 5. According to one-year matrix analyses, the population of P. conzatti could be considered near equilibrium (ʎ=0.95, C.I. 0.87– 1.02), where permanence of generative individuals contributes the most to ʎ. Its vegetative phenology is seasonal (r=0.85, Z= 636.30 P<0.0001), whit frond production from May to September during the rainy season, with the maximum in August (µ= 228.176°). Pleopeltis conzatti showed similar demographic and phenological patterns to orchid and bromeliads, which are two of the groups most successful in the epiphytic environment, suggesting that the stressful conditions of the epiphytic habitat constrain its responses. Although, we are aware of the need of long-lasting studies with more fern species in order to asseverate this.