Tropical Ecology and Conservation [Monteverde Institute]

Alternative Title

Las epífilas sombrean las hojas de la planta hospedera : Foto-aclimatación a hepáticas y cobertor de líquenes


Claire Addis



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Publication Date

November 2008


Epiphylls are ubiquitous throughout the Tropics and may significantly shade their host leaves. Anthony et al. (2002) document increased levels of chlorophylls a and b in leaves with significant lichen coverage on two tropical understory plants in Australia, suggesting host leaves may respond to epiphyll shading by increasing photosynthetic pigments. Reaction of plants to the second major group of tropical epiphylls, liverworts, has not been studied. The purpose of this study was to see if a neotropical palm, Calyptrogyne gneisbregntiana, compensates for epiphyll cover by both lichens and liverworts. In addition to chlorophylls a and b, I investigate whether carotenoid levels also increase due to increased epiphyllic shading. The pigments of 80 understory leaf samples with either full lichen or full liverwort cover were extracted in acetone and analyzed using a spectrophotometer. It was found that only shading by lichens resulted in significantly higher chlorophylls a, b and carotenoids (mean = 142.95 ± 0.0350 ug/g, 62.4 ± 0.0178, and 77.5 ± 0.0188, respectively, P< 0.05) and per area for chlorophyll a and carotenoids (mean = 2.6 ± 0.0006 ug/cm2 and 1.45 ± 0.0003, respectively, P< 0.05). Ratios of chlorophyll a: b and total chlorophyll: carotenoids were not different between leaflets with 0% and 100% epiphyllic lichen or liverwort cover. These data show that C. gneisbregntiana compensate for lichen cover but not liverwort cover, and suggest that plants with epiphyllic lichens photo-acclimate to shading by increasing the concentration of light-harvesting pigments. The lack of significant increases in pigments seen in plants with liverwort cover may be due to habitat differences, where the plants may already be compensating to their full extent in response to environmental factors. Las epífilas se ubican a través de los trópicos y puede de manera significativa sombrear las hojas hospederas. Anthony et al. (2002) documentan un aumento en los niveles de clorofila a y b en las hojas con una cobertura significativa de líquenes en dos plantas tropicales en el sotobosque de Australia, sugiriendo que las hojas hospederas pueden responder a la sombra provocada por las epífilas incrementando los pigmentos fotosintéticos. No se han estudiado la reacción de las plantas para el segundo gran grupo de epífilas tropicales, y hepáticas. El propósito de este estudio fue observar si la palma neotropical Calypterogyne gneisbregntiana, presenta alguna compensación por la cobertura tanto de líquenes como de hepáticas.


Lichens--Ecology, Liquenes--Ecologia, Liverworts--Ecology, Hepaticas--Ecologia, Plants--Adaptation, Plantas--Adaptacion, Monteverde Biological Station (Costa Rica), Estacion Biologica de Monteverde (Costa Rica), Costa Rica--Puntarenas--Monteverde Zone--Cerro Plano, Costa Rica--Puntarenas--Zona de Monteverde--Cerro Plano, CIEE Fall 2008, CIEE Otoño 2008


Student affiliation : Department of Biology, Luther College Born Digital

Subject: topical

Lichens--Ecology; Liquenes--Ecologia; Liverworts--Ecology; Hepaticas--Ecologia; Plants--Adaptation; Plantas--Adaptacion; CIEE Fall 2008; CIEE Otoño 2008

Subject: geographic

Monteverde Biological Station (Costa Rica); Estacion Biologica de Monteverde (Costa Rica); Costa Rica--Puntarenas--Monteverde Zone--Cerro Plano; Costa Rica--Puntarenas--Zona de Monteverde--Cerro Plano



Holding Location

Monteverde Institute MVI



Epiphyllic shading on host plant leaves  :  photo-acclimation to liverwort and lichen cover



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