Diversity patterns of epiphytic bryophytes across spatial scales: Species-rich crowns and beta-diverse trunks

Monica B. Berdugo, S. Robbert Gradstein, Louise Guérot, Susana León-Yánez, Jörg Bendix, Maaike Y. Bader

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4 Citas (Scopus)


Tropical forests are highly diverse at many spatial scales. In these forests, small-sized canopy organisms can form species-rich communities already within a few cm2. Understanding how species numbers increase when expanding the sampling along the tree and the forest is critical for evaluating the processes maintaining biodiversity. We therefore studied epiphytic bryophyte diversity in tree crowns and along trunks across spatial scales in a tropical lowland forest in Amazonian Ecuador, sampling bryophytes in 100-cm2 quadrats on 24 trees (15–22 quadrats each) using a spatially hierarchical design, analyzing alpha and beta diversity at different spatial grains and extents. At the smallest grain, tree crowns held more bryophyte species than trunks, but at the largest grain the trunks held most species (93 vs. 77), as beta diversity was higher among trunks than among crowns. However, except for trunks at the largest extent (all 24 trees), the highest beta diversity among quadrats was always found between crowns and trunks. Species turnover strongly dominated beta diversity at all spatial scales. This and the high species richness resulted in highly unpredictable species compositions, especially in trunk communities. These patterns suggest different controls of diversity in crowns than on trunks and an important role for chance processes in shaping these communities. The high beta diversity within trees, in combination with the large effort involved in climbing trees, implies that diversity sampling of small canopy organisms is most efficient using an intensive (many plots on few trees) rather than extensive (many trees across a large area) sampling. Abstract in Spanish is available with online material.

Idioma originalInglés
Páginas (desde-hasta)893-905
Número de páginas13
EstadoPublicada - jul. 2022

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© 2022 The Authors. Biotropica published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation.


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