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Information on productivity was obtained from DW/FW determinations and repeated measurements and leaf counts of tagged plants over a period of 16 months from the end of one rainy season to the end of a dry season and again in the following year. DW = dry weight, FW = fresh weight

8.21), while recycling for all phenotypes in the wet season was only 21%. Clearly, the yellow exposed plants are under the most severe stress of

• high irradiance,

• low nutrient supply.

The latter applies because the exposed plants also lack-supplies from decomposing litter falling between the plants and into the tanks of the shaded plants in the deciduous forest. This is reflected in their productivity. It is seen that losses and gains are more or less balanced and net productivity is close to zero in the yellow exposed plants, as compared to the green shaded plants which have a distinct primary net productivity (Table 8.2).

8.2.3.3 Epiphytic CAM Plants: Avoidance of Salinity Stress

On the large cacti and the shrubs of the vegetation islands one frequently finds epiphytic CAM plants, especially the bromeliad Tillandsia flexuosa and the orchid Schomburgkia humboldtiana (see Fig. 6.39). Although there may be some salt spray driven inland by stronger winds, in their epiphytic habitat these plants largely avoid salinity stress. CAM serves adaptation to drought stress (Sect. 5.2.2.2). Additionally both species are myrmecophilous (Sect. 6.6.3). CO2-acquisition in S. humboldtiana is greatly reduced in the dry season. In contrast, rates of CO2-uptake are constantly low in T. flexuosa over both rainy and dry seasons (Fig. 8.22). Internal CO2-

Schomburgkia Humboldtiana
Fig. 8.22 Net CO2 exchange (Jco2) of Schomburgkia humboldtiana (•, o) and Tillandsia flexuosa (A, A) in the wet season (o, A) and in the dry season (•, A). The horizontal black bar indicates the night period. (Griffiths et al. 1989)

recycling is similar in both plants at 65 - 76% and independent of season. T.flexuosa is more frequent and so, despite lower potential maximum productivity, the physiological characteristics maintain carbon acquisition continuously over the seasons.

8.2.3.4 Mangroves and Associates

The shrubby vegetation of the islands is dominated by the mangrove associate Cono-carpus erectus. The true mangrove Avicennia germinans also plays a limited role, particularly on vegetation islands closer to the lagoon with more permanent salt stress. A germinans appears to be much more salt tolerant than C. erectus. The more detailed ecophysiological comportment of the two species is discussed in Sect. 7.5.1.

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