New Proposal of Epiphytic Bromeliaceae Functional Groups to Include Nebulophytes and Shallow Tanks

2022 | journal article. A publication with affiliation to the University of Göttingen.

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​New Proposal of Epiphytic Bromeliaceae Functional Groups to Include Nebulophytes and Shallow Tanks​
Reyes-García, C.; Pereira-Zaldívar, N. A.; Espadas-Manrique, C.; Tamayo-Chim, M.; Chilpa-Galván, N.; Cach-Pérez, M. J. & Ramírez-Medina, M. et al.​ (2022) 
Plants11(22) pp. 3151​.​ DOI: 

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Reyes-García, Casandra; Pereira-Zaldívar, Narcy Anai; Espadas-Manrique, Celene; Tamayo-Chim, Manuela; Chilpa-Galván, Nahlleli; Cach-Pérez, Manuel Jesús; Ramírez-Medina, Marypaz; Benavides, Ana Maria; Hietz, Peter; Zotz, Gerhard; Woods, Carrie
The Bromeliaceae family has been used as a model to study adaptive radiation due to its terrestrial, epilithic, and epiphytic habits with wide morpho-physiological variation. Functional groups described by Pittendrigh in 1948 have been an integral part of ecophysiological studies. In the current study, we revisited the functional groups of epiphytic bromeliads using a 204 species trait database sampled throughout the Americas. Our objective was to define epiphytic functional groups within bromeliads based on unsupervised classification, including species from the dry to the wet end of the Neotropics. We performed a hierarchical cluster analysis with 16 functional traits and a discriminant analysis, to test for the separation between these groups. Herbarium records were used to map species distributions and to analyze the climate and ecosystems inhabited. The clustering supported five groups, C3 tank and CAM tank bromeliads with deep tanks, while the atmospheric group (according to Pittendrigh) was divided into nebulophytes, bromeliads with shallow tanks, and bromeliads with pseudobulbs. The two former groups showed distinct traits related to resource (water) acquisition, such as fog (nebulophytes) and dew (shallow tanks). We discuss how the functional traits relate to the ecosystems inhabited and the relevance of acknowledging the new functional groups.
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