Skip to main content Accessibility help

Population structure and canopy use by Coussapoa microcarpa, a strangler hemiepiphyte from the Brazilian Atlantic Forest

  • Luís Francisco Mello Coelho (a1) (a2) and Marco Aurélio Pizo (a3)

We studied density, size structure, and establishment sites of Coussapoa microcarpa in the Brazilian Atlantic rain forest. This species is a hemiepiphyte that begins its life in the tops of trees and survives the death of its host to become a free-standing tree. All individuals of C. microcarpa already rooted in the ground were recorded in a 3.43 ha (1.75 ha in lowland and 1.68 ha in submontane) sample of forest plots. Data on total height, root diameter at breast height, host height and diameter at breast height, as well as height, type and diameter of the establishment site were collected. Coussapoa microcarpa present a high density (36.5 ind. ha−1) and the population studied was composed mainly of young individuals. Young and adults differed in establishment sites. The diameter of establishment sites of young was narrower than the diameter of establishment sites of adults, which points out to a limiting factor (diameter of establishment site) regulating the establishment of C. microcarpa.

Corresponding author
2Corresponding author. Email:
Hide All
ATHREYA, V. R. 1999. Light or presence of host trees: which is more important for the strangler fig? Journal of Tropical Ecology 15:589603.
AVELAR, W. E., GALVãO-BUENO, M. S., GIULIETTI, A. M., FILHO, E. R., ANDRADE-LIMA, D. & GEVERTZ, R. 1995. Em busca do conhecimento ecológico – uma introdução à metodologia. (Second edition). Editora Edgard Blücher Ltda, São Paulo. 113 pp.
BENZING, D. H. 1990. Vascular epiphytes. Cambridge University Press, New York. 354 pp.
BERG, C. C., AKKERMANS, R. W. A. P. & VAN HEUSDEN, E. C. H. 1990. Cecropiaceae: Coussapoa and Pourouma, with an introduction to the family. Flora Neotropica 51:1128.
BUENO, R. S., GUEVARA, R., RIBEIRO, M. C., CULOT, L., BUFALO, F. S. & GALETTI, M. 2013. Functional redundancy and complementarities of seed dispersal by the last neotropical megafrugivores. PLoS ONE 8: e56252. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0056252.
CAIAFA, A. N. & MARTINS, F. R. 2010. Forms of rarity tree species in the southern Brazilian Atlantic rainforest. Biodiversity and Conservation 19:25972618.
COELHO, L. F. M. 2005. Ecologia de hemiepífitas estranguladoras. Master's thesis, Universidade Estadual Paulista, Rio Claro, Brazil.
GALETTI, M., PIZO, M. A. & MORELLATO, L. P. C. 2011. Diversity of functional traits in fleshy fruits of a species-rich Atlantic rain forest. Biota Neotropica 11 (1).
GAUTIER-HION, A. & MICHALOUD, G. 1989. Are figs always keystone resource for tropical frugivorous vertebrates? A test in Gabon. Ecology 70:18261833.
HAO, G., SACK, L., WANG, A., CAO, K. & GOLDSTEIN, G. 2010. Differentiation of leaf water flux and drought tolerance traits in hemiepiphytic and non-hemiepiphytic Ficus tree species. Functional Ecology 24:731740.
HARRISON, R. D. 2006. Mortality and recruitment of hemi-epiphytic figs in the canopy of a Bornean rain forest. Journal of Tropical Ecology 22:477480.
HOLBROOK, N. M. & PUTZ, F. E. 1996. From epiphyte to tree: differences in leaf structure and leaf water relations associated with the transition in growth form in eight species of hemiepiphytes. Plant Cell and Environment 19:631642.
JORDANO, P. & HERRERA, C. 1995. Shuffling the offspring: uncoupling and spatial discordance of multiple stages in vertebrate seed dispersal. Ecoscience 2:230237.
LAWTON, R. O. & WILLIAMS-LINERA, G. 1996. Hemiepiphyte–host relationships: research problems and prospects. Selbyana 17:7174.
MELO, M. M. R. F. & MANTOVANI, W. 1994. Composição florística e estrutura de trecho de mata atlântica de encosta, na ilha do Cardoso (Cananéia, SP, Brasil). Boletim do Instituto de Botânica 9:107158.
MICHALOUD, G. & MICHALOUD-PELLETIER, S. 1987. Ficus hemi-epiphytes (Moraceae) and tree supports. Biotropica 19:125136.
PUTZ, F. E. & HOLBROOK, N. M. 1986. Notes on the natural history of hemi-epiphytes. Selbyana 9:6169.
SANCHEZ, M., PEDRONI, F., EISENLOHR, P. V. & OLIVEIRA-FILHO, A. T. 2013. Changes in tree community composition and structure of Atlantic rain forest on a slope of the Serra do Mar range, southeastern Brazil, from near sea level to 1000 m of altitude. Flora. doi: 10.1016/j.flora.2013.03.002.
TODZIA, C. 1986. Growth habits, host tree species, and density of hemiepiphytes in Barro Colorado Island, Panamá. Biotropica 18:2227.
WILLIAMS-LINERA, G. & LAWTON, R. O. 1995. The ecology of hemiepiphytes in forest canopies. Pp. 255283 in Lowman, M. D. & Nadkarni, N. M. (eds.). Forest canopies. (Third edition). Academic Press, San Diego.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Journal of Tropical Ecology
  • ISSN: 0266-4674
  • EISSN: 1469-7831
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-tropical-ecology
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed