Tropical Ecology and Conservation [Monteverde Institute]

Alternative Title

Regulación de pigmentos fotosintéticos en el sotobosque tropical y en los claros del bosque


Maiken Westphal



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Publication Date

November 2008


A plant can manipulate its absolute and relative amounts of photosynthetic pigments in different light environments (Hopkins, 1995, Goncalves and Vieira, 2001). Leaf samples from ten gap and ten understory plants were collected from Calyptrogyne brachystachys (Arecaceae), Heliconia monteverdensis (Heliconiaceae), and Piper ariteum (Piperaceae), and their chlorophylls a, b, and carotenoid concentrations were found. The total concentration of chlorophylls a, b, total chlorophyll and carotenoids were significantly higher (p = <0.05) in the understory leaf samples of C. brachystachys and P. auriteum, but higher in the gap samples of H. monteverdensis. Ratios of chlorophyll a to chlorophyll b were significantly greater for gap samples of all three species. A higher concentration of chlorophyll and carotenoids in the understory plants of C. brachystachys and P. auriteum suggests they are adjusting the absolute and relative amounts of pigments to make use of sparse light in the understory. H. monteverdensis utilizes its photosynthetic pigments slightly differently, acting much like a canopy plant.


Una planta puede manipular absolutamente la cantidad relativa de pigmentos fotosintéticos en los diferentes ambientes de luz (Hopkins, 1995, Goncalves y Vieira, 2001). Se colectaron muestras de 10 plantas de Calyptrogyne bracystachys (Arecaceae), Heliconia monteverdensis (Heliconiaceae) y Piper ariteum (Piperaceae), y se midieron las concentraciones de clorofila a y b, y carotenoides en el sotobosque y en los claros del bosque.


Photosynthetic pigments, Understory plants, Cloud forest ecology, CIEE Fall 2008

Palabras claves

Pigmentos fotosintéticos, Plantas del sotobosque, Ecología del bosque nuboso, CIEE Otoño 2008


8 pages

Geographic Location

Monteverde Biological Station (Costa Rica); Cerro Plano (Puntarenas, Costa Rica)

Ubicación geográfica

Estación Biológica de Monteverde (Costa Rica)

Holding Location

Monteverde Institute


English; Spanish

Media Type



Digital Only





Regulation of photosynthetic pigments in tropical understory and gaps, November 2008



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