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Tank bromeliads sustain high secondary production in neotropical forests

  • Dezerald, O.
  • Leroy, Céline
  • Corbara, B.
  • Dejean, A.
  • Talaga, S.
  • Cereghino, R.
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2018
Horizon / Pleins textes
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In neotropical landscapes, a substantial fraction of the still waters available is found within tank bromeliads, plants which hold a few milliliters to several litres of rainwater within their leaf axils. The bromeliad ecosystem is integrated into the functioning of rainforest environments, but no study has ever estimated the secondary production, nor the biomass turnover rates of bromeliad macroinvertebrates in relation to other functional traits. We estimated secondary production at invertebrate population to metacommunity level in bromeliads of French Guiana. Coleoptera, Diptera and Crustacea with traits that confer resistance to drought had lower biomass turnover, longer generation times, and slower individual growth than species without particular resistance traits, suggesting convergent life history strategies in phylogenetically distant species. Detritivores and predators accounted for 87% and 13% of the overall annual production, respectively, but had similar production to biomass ratios. An average bromeliad sustained a production of 23.93 g dry mass m(-2) year(-1), a value which exceeds the medians of 5.0-14.8 g DM m(-2) year(-1) for lakes and rivers worldwide. Extrapolations to the total water volumes held by bromeliads at our field site yielded secondary production estimates of 226.8 +/- 32.5 g DM ha(-1) year(-1). We conclude that the ecological role of tank bromeliads in neotropical rainforests may be as important as that of other freshwater ecosystems.

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