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Recent Topics Posters

Flores-Galván, Catalina [1], Vásquez-Reyes, Víctor [1], Campos Cascaredo, Adolfo [1], Pérez-García, Blanca [2], Mata-Rosas, Martín [3], Mehltreter, Klaus [1].

Effect of leaf litter and microtopography on spore germination of three Mexican fern species.

Tropical fern species constitute between 4 and 15% of the vascular plant diversity of local continental floras. To develop management and conservation strategies for ferns in situ, detailed knowledge of the abiotic factors that affect their different stages of the life cycle is required. For this reason, we studied the impact of leaf litter (presence/absence) and slope (0°, 30°, 60° and 90°) on several light and soil characteristics at the surface level and on spore germination of three terrestrial fern species, two of understory (Marattia laxa and Blechnum wardiae) and one of open sites (Pteris pulchra). For each litter treatment, slope and species, we had 10-12 replicates of the size of a petri dish (90 mm diameter). Leaf litter treatments were covered with a mixed layer of the three dominant tree species: Liquidambar styraciflua, Styrax glabrescens and Miconia glaberrima. Light measurements were conducted on a cloudless day at noon (12:00 h ± 15 min; n = 40). Leaf litter reduced light intensity at the soil surface in the forest understory to less than 2.1% of the open and light quality (i.e., R:FR ratio) from 0.5-0.7 to less of 0.17, while increasing slopes reduced the soil concentrations of C, N, P, Ca and Mg, but not of Na and K. In the field, the three species reached the highest germination rate at a slope of 30° inclination and without leaf litter. On the other hand, in the greenhouse none of the understory species germinated, although Pteris pulchra germinated in both leaf litter treatments. We conclude that leaf litter reduces or inhibits spore germination because of its effect on light quantity and quality. Although slope inclination altered soil nutrient concentrations, supposedly because of soil erosion, we assume that the higher light intensity and quality at slopes of 30° inclination were the main factors that caused an increased spore germination. This study shows that the germination of fern spores depends on a complex interaction of factors such as leaf litter and microtopography that alter the light and soil characteristics of their microhabitat. Other factors that might affect spore germination such as competition should be studied in the future.

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1 - Instituto de Ecología, A. C., Red de Ecología Funcional, Carretera Antigua a Coatepec 351, El Haya, Xalapa, Veracruz, 91073, México
2 - Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana-Iztapalapa, Área de Botánica Estructural y Sistemática Vegetal, Departamento de Biología, Av. San Rafael Atlixco 186, Col. Vicentina, Iztapalapa, CDMX, 09340, México
3 - Instituto de Ecología, A. C., Red de Manejo Biotecnológico de Recursos, Carretera Antigua a Coatepec 351, El Haya, Xalapa, Veracruz, 91073, México

Spore germination
leaf litter
light quality
soil nutrients

Presentation Type: Recent Topics Poster
Session: P1, Recent Topics Posters
Location: Virtual/Virtual
Date: Thursday, July 22nd, 2021
Time: 5:00 PM(EDT)
Number: P1RT022
Abstract ID:1412
Candidate for Awards:None

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