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AFEC-X 2013’s Fern Project Presented at BCT 8th on 2 April 2014

April 20th, 2014

Habitat and canopy light environment determines the diversity, abundance and distribution of ground ferns

Yang Fengchun's presentation

Yang Fengchun presenting his group’s work

“The Program for Field Studies in Tropical Asia, XTBG” is proud to announce that the independent project “Habitat and canopy light environment determines the diversity, abundance and distribution of ground ferns“, done by five students Yang Fengchun, Chaya Sarathchandra, Liu Qi, Wang Xuebing, Kim Songho during the Advanced Fieldcourse in Ecology and Conservation 2013, was presented in 8th Botanical garden Conference of Thailand (BCT 8th). The BCT 8th was held in Chiang Mai University, Thailand, from 2-4 April 2014. More than 200 people from most of the universities, research institutes, and botanical gardens in Thailand attended this conference, and 48 oral presentations and 110 posters were presented during the conference.

Here is the abstract of the work:

How co-occurring and closely related species that grow in high densities partition their niche is an important question in tropical ecology. In this study, we used 2.5 * 1 m plots placed at 10 m intervals to compare the diversity and abundance of all ground ferns in three habitat types –tropical rain forest, karst forest and rubber plantations. The canopy light partitioning and photosynthetic physiology was investigated for three Tectaria species, T. triphylla, T. simonsii and T. decurrens. We found that the diversity and abundance of ground ferns was highest in the rainforest (2.52±1.68 species and 3.29±0.04 individuals per plot respectively; P<0.0001) and there was no difference between the karst forest (2.47±0.68 and 2.94±0.05) and rubber plantation habitats (1.47±0.72 and 2.39±0.09) for diversity and abundance. T. decurrens was restricted to the rain forest habitat while the other two species were found in all three habitat types. Further, the probability of finding T. decurrens steeply decreased with increasing canopy openness and approached zero around 5% canopy openness. The other two species differed in their probability of occurrence along the canopy openness gradient from T. decurrens (P < 0.0001) and approached zero only after 20% canopy openness. The maximum photosynthetic and the carboxylase for the three Tectaria species was similar (5.96±2.60 umol m-2 s-1 and 10.02±2.76 respectively). Although habitat and low-light environment from canopy cover is an important factor that determines the distribution of ground ferns, other factors such as soil moisture and nutrients should be further investigated to fully explain how the species partition this restricted light niche. With the conversion of tropical rainforest to rubber plantations rainforest restricted species such as T. decurrens may become endangered or even locally extinct and steps should be taken to conserve these species.

PPT of the presentation and more publications of PFS office be downloaded from https://www.pfs-tropasia.org/publications/

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