Biodiversity of epiphytic plants

Nalini Nadkarni nadkarnn at ELWHA.EVERGREEN.EDU
Thu Sep 3 22:44:14 CDT 1998


I am an ecologist who has been studying the ecological roles of
canopy-dwelling vascular and non-vascular epiphytes of tropical cloud
forests and temperate rainforests. I was recently invited to contribute a
chapter to the upcoming "Encyclopedia of Biodiversity", edited by Simon
Levin, to be published by Academic Press in the year 2000.

Because most of my research and all of my training has been in the realm
of community ecology and ecosystem ecology (particularly nutrient
cycling), I have only limited knowledge of the "state of the art" of the
taxonomy and systematics of epiphytic plant groups, an area which will
constitute a part of this article.

Therefore, I am temporarily subscribing to this bulletin board as one
means of collecting information on the biodiversity of canopy plants. I
wish to address the following questions:

How much do we know about the taxonomy of epiphytic plant groups?

For a given taxon of plants, what is the breakdown of species among those
that are obligately epiphytic, facultatively epiphytic, and obligately

Are there epiphytic taxa that may be particularly vulnerable to
natural or human-induced disturbances (including global environmental
change). And conversely, are there epiphytic taxa that might be enhanced
by these environmental changes?

I am aware of a number of earlier review articles on the taxonomic
distribution of epiphytic vascular plants (Madison 1977, Kress 1986), but
would appreciate citations of updates on those works as well as
inventories that relate to the diversity of epiphytic non-vascular plants,
either as general summaries or with respect to particular taxa.

Please respond directly to my own email address:
(nadkarnn at

Many thanks.


Nalini M. Nadkarni
Member of the Faculty                   President
The Evergreen State College             International Canopy Network
Olympia, WA 98505                       2103 Harrison NW, Suite 2612
(360) 866-6000 x6621                    Olympia, WA 98502-2607
nadkarnn at

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