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Abstract Detail

Pteridological Section/AFS

Sharpe, Joanne M. [1], Shiels, Aaron B. [2].

Effects of a simulated hurricane experiment on terrestrial ferns in a subtropical wet forest in Puerto Rico.

Fern species diversity, growth (leaf length, number of leaves per plant) and spore production were monitored for two years before and for five years after forest treatments that simulated two key components of severe hurricane disturbance: canopy openness and detritus deposition. At a Long-term Ecological Research site (LTER) in the Luquillo rainforest of Puerto Rico canopy trees were trimmed of their branches and the resultant debris was weighed and re-distributed. Eighteen species of terrestrial ferns were identified, with five early successional species appearing only after the canopy had been trimmed. Fern abundance decreased by as much as half after trimming, but had nearly returned to pre-simulation levels after four years where the canopy had been removed. Leaf lengths and number of leaves per plant increased in response to treatments where the canopy was trimmed. Spore production greatly increased in trimmed plots while declining to zero in plots with intact canopy and debris distributed over the forest floor. Increased light levels had considerably more effect on fern responses, short-term, than did the deposition of debris.

Broader Impacts:

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Related Links:
Luquillo (Puerto Rico) Long-term Ecological Research Site

1 - Sharplex Services, P.O. Box 499, Edgecomb, Maine, 04556, USA
2 - University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras, Institute for Tropical Ecosystem Studies, PO Box 21910, San Juan, PR, 00931-1910, USA


Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Sections
Session: 2
Location: 556B/Convention Center
Date: Monday, August 2nd, 2010
Time: 9:15 AM
Number: 2006
Abstract ID:509

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