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Department or Administrative Unit

Biological Sciences

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Premise of research. Epiphytic bromeliads endure intense seasonal environmental changes in the canopy of dry tropical deciduous forests. The analysis of the physiological responses of these epiphytes to environmental changes can be useful in assessing their plasticity, vulnerability, and adaptations to such extreme habitats.

Methodology. We measured microenvironmental variables and water relations for plants of the epiphytic bromeliad Tillandsia brachycaulos in three microhabitats within the canopy of a dry tropical forest. We measured individual plants for seasonal and spatial differences in light, leaf temperature, osmotic potential, cell wall elasticity, and relative capacitance as indications of their physiological responses to the changing environment.

Pivotal results. We detected greater physiological differences for leaves of T. brachycaulos among seasons than among microhabitats. Osmotic potential decreased in the early dry season, especially in the low and middle strata within the canopy, and leaf relative capacitance increased.

Conclusions. Individuals of T. brachycaulos displayed modest leaf physiological responses to the strong seasonal environmental changes within the canopy of this tropical forest. Such responses are in agreement with the observation that when water is available, it has high water potential, and thus water storage is the main strategy for surviving in such extreme conditions.


This article was originally published in International Journal of Plant Sciences. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.

Due to journal embargo policies, the full text of this article cannot be downloaded on ScholarWorks @ CWU until October, 2021.


International Journal of Plant Sciences


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