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Acta Botanica Brasilica

Print version ISSN 0102-3306On-line version ISSN 1677-941X


OLIVEIRA, Hermeson Cassiano de  and  OLIVEIRA, Sylvia Mota de. Vertical distribution of epiphytic bryophytes in Atlantic Forest fragments in northeastern Brazil. Acta Bot. Bras. [online]. 2016, vol.30, n.4, pp.609-617.  Epub Nov 10, 2016. ISSN 0102-3306.

The microclimatic gradient established from the forest understory to the canopy provides a range of different conditions for the establishment of bryophytes along the height of a tree. We investigated epiphytic bryophyte communities of four fragments of Atlantic Forest with the aim of describing their vertical zonation and assessing differentiation among the communities of the different fragments. In each fragment, five host trees were selected from which bryophyte samples were collected in four height zones from the base to the canopy. Furthermore, 10 plots were demarcated in each fragment where bryophytes were collected from the understory. In total, 114 bryophyte species were found on the 20 sampled phorophytes, plus an additional 51 species in the understory, for a total of 165 species. Species composition of height zones differed significantly between communities of the trunk base and the canopy. The samples from the understory included 77% of all species. Among all species found, 10 showed a significant preference for a specific height. Around 70% of the bryophyte species grew as mats; this life form occurred in all trees and height zones. The results showed a weak, yet significant, vertical gradient, which differs from what is usually found in the Atlantic Forest.

Keywords : canopy; ecology; liverworts; mosses; tropical rain forest.

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