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SCARANO, Fabio Rubio et al. Plant morpho-physiological variation under distinct environmental extremes in restinga vegetation. Rodriguésia [online]. 2009, vol.60, n.1, pp.221-235. ISSN 0370-6583.

This paper is a synthesis of over ten years of research on inter- and intra-population variation in morphophysiology of six plant species at the Jacarepiá restinga: the shrubs Alchornea triplinervia, Andira legalis, Clusia fluminensis and Myrsine parvifolia, the bromeliad Aechmea maasii (formerly identified as Aechmea bromeliifolia, now recognized as a species only found in Central Brazil) and the geophyte palm Allagoptera arenaria. Individual shape, stature and growth, leaf anatomy, photoinhibition, and carbon, nitrogen and water use were the main parameters studied. The isolated study of intra-specific variation in one or a few of the above-mentioned traits often does not allow a distinction between acclimation and stress symptoms. Thus, we used an approach that integrated morphology, anatomy, physiology and also population parameters. Variation in morphological, anatomical and physiological traits was found for the majority of these species, and often indicated great acclimation capacity to distinct environmental extremes. This acclimation capacity may be partly responsible for the broad colonization success of extreme habitats in restingas, by species often originating in mesic forest environments. This phenomenon is an additional element to be accounted for as an important component of the high biodiversity of the Atlantic forest complex. Finally, we discuss implications for biodiversity conservation of intra-specific variation at the population level.

Keywords : acclimation; clonal growth; intraspecific variation; leaf anatomy; photoinhibition; restinga.

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