Tropical Ecology and Conservation [Monteverde Institute]

Alternative Title

El dosel y el subdosel del bosque nuboso tropical se adaptan a diferentes ambientes de luz mediante el control de pigmentos fotosintéticos



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Publication Date

December 2006


The canopy and subcanopy of a Tropical Cloud Forest provide distinctly different light environments. Here, the amounts and ratios of photosynthetic pigments in leaves from a Cloud Forest canopy and subcanopy plants are compared. The pigments of forty canopy and subcanopy leaf samples are extracted using acetone and analyzed using a spectrophotometer. It is found that canopy and subcanopy plants possess equivalent means of concentrations of photosynthetic pigments per mass of leaf tissue (x = 0.21± 0.09 mg/g and 0.22 ± 0.11 mg/g, respectively). Therefore, plants from these two microhabitats invest the same quantity in major pigments for photosynthesis. However, the availability of light cause canopy plants to produce a higher concentration of photosynthetic pigments per area (x = 0.0079 ± 0.0026 mg/cm²) than subcanopy plants (x = 0.0059 ± 0.0019 mg/cm²). Based on the ratio of chlorophyll a to chlorophyll b, it appears that canopy plants (x =1.63 ± 0.57) use their photosynthetic pigments to maximize their rate of light processing. Subcanopy plants (x = 0.98 ± 0.26), in contrast, appear to maximize light absorption. Using the ratio of carotenoids to chlorophyll b, canopy plants (x = 1.24 ± 0.27) may be using carotenoids to prevent photoinhibition. Subcanopy plants, having a much lower carotenoids to chlorophyll b ratio (x = 0.97 ± 0.27), are possibly using carotenoids for further light absorption.


El dosel y subdosel de un bosque nuboso tropical proporcionan ambientes de luz muy diferentes. En este caso, se comparan las cantidades y proporciones de los pigmentos fotosintéticos en hojas de un dosel del bosque nuboso y las plantas del subdosel.


Forest canopies, Chlorophyll, CIEE Fall 2006

Palabras claves

Doseles forestales, Clorofila, CIEE Otoño 2006


12 pages

Geographic Location

Monteverde (Puntarenas, Costa Rica)

Holding Location

Monteverde Institute


English; Spanish

Media Type



Digital Only





Tropical cloud forest canopy and subcanopy adapt to different light environments by regulating photosynthetic pigments



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