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Abstract Detail

Pteridological Section/AFS

Watkins, James [1], Labiak, Paulo [2], Moran, Robbin [3], Sundue, Michael [4], Testo, Weston [5].

Fern hemiepiphytes: a bridge between terrestrial and epiphytic species?

The Cretaceous Period ushered in one of the single most important events in the evolution of ferns: the widespread radiation of taxa into the epiphytic niche. While epiphtysim may trace its roots back to the Carboniferous, the apparent explosive rise of ferns into the novel angiosperm canopy is a more recent event. Modern epiphytic ferns play important roles in canopy nutrient and water relations, stabilize canopy habitats, and contribute significantly to net primary production in tropical forests. Ongoing research on fern ecology and ecophysiology suggests that the epiphytic niche poses novel challenges and that epiphytic ferns maintain a number of unique functional traits relative to terrestrial taxa. How then, did epiphytic ferns evolve? Did species leap into the canopy from terrestrial ancestors? Was such a leap facilitated by the unique environmental conditions that Cretaceous broad-leaved angiosperms may have engineered? Or, did the transition pass through intermediate growth habits such as hemiepiphytes that facilitated radiation into this challenging new niche? In recent years, the evolutionary significance of hemiepiphytism in ferns has received increased attention, and the number reports of this phenomenon are increasing. In this talk, we review some recent advancements and attempt to clarify ongoing misconceptions in the study of hemiepiphytic ferns. We also present a series of hypotheses based on new data to demonstrate the complexities and multiple routes that ferns have taken on their march into the rainforest canopy. 

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1 - Colgate University, Department Of Botany, 129 Ho Science Center, 13 Oak Drive, Hamilton, NY, 13346-1338, USA
2 - Universidade Federal do Paraná, Departamento de Botânica, Curitiba, Brazil
3 - New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, NY, 10456‐5126, USA
4 - 111 Jeffords Hall, 63 Carrigan Dr., Burlington, VT, 05405, USA
5 - University of Vermont, Department of Plant Biology, 63 Carrigan Drive, 101 Jeffords Hall, Burlington, VT, 05405, USA


Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Sections
Session: 7
Location: Pines North/Boise Centre
Date: Monday, July 28th, 2014
Time: 9:15 AM
Number: 7004
Abstract ID:649
Candidate for Awards:None

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