Revised outline: Epiphytes of the Tropics

This topic submitted by Ann Reynolds ( at 5:14 PM on 4/21/03.

The views are spectacular at the wall break, 25 m deep, San Salvador, Bahamas.

Tropical Field Courses -Western Program-Miami University

I. What is an epiphyte?
A. Distinguishing features
B. Vascular
a. Growth habit
b. Orchids
c. Bromeliads
C. Non vascular
a. algae
b. lichens
c. bryophytes

II. Epiphytes and Their Friends
A. Mosquitoes
B. Frogs
C. Ants

III. Epiphytes and Ecology
A. The Forest Canopy
B. Water
C. Pollination

IV. Epiphytes and their Environment
A. Forest Canopy
B. Forest Floor
C. Substrates
D. Light and Photosynthesis

V. Epiphytes and You
A. Epiphytes as Indicators
B. Conservation

Additional resources:
Benzing, D. H. (1995). Vascular epiphytes. In Forest Canopies. San Diego, CA: Academic Press.

Chazdon, R. L. & Fetcher, N. (1984). Photosynthetic light environments in a lowland tropical rain forest in Costa Rica. Journal of Ecology, 72, 553-564.

Gentry, A. H. (1982). Patterns of neotropical plant species diversity. Evolutionary Biology, 15, 1-84.

Holbrook, N. M. & Lund, C. P. (1995).Photosynthesis in canopies. In Forest Canopies. San Diego, CA: Academic Press.

Kernan, C. & Fowler, N. (1995). Differential substrate use by epiphytes in Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica: A source of guild structure. Journal of Ecology, 83, 65-73.

Matelson, T. J., Nadkarni, N. M., & Longino, J. T. (1993). Longevity of fallen epiphytes in a neotropical montane forest. Ecology, 74, 265-269.

Rhoades, F. M. (1995). Nanvascular epiphytes in forest canopies: Worldwide distribution, abundance, and ecological roles. In Forest Canopies. San Diego, CA: Academic Press.

Tobin, J. E. (1995). Ecology and diversity of tropical forest canopy ants. In Forest Canopies. San Diego, CA: Academic Press.

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