Photos from the Field: Heymann et al. 2014. Research Impacts on Bromeliads
Eckhard W. Heymann, Laura L. Wörner, Birgit Ziegenhagen, Ronald Bialozyt. 2014. Research Trails Affect the Abundance of an Epiphytic Tropical Bromeliad. Biotropica, 46(2): 166-169.
Concerns have been expressed that research methods and research infrastructure may affect the systems under study, which could lead to biased results. Effects of research activities on seedlings, saplings, and understory plants that are subjected to trampling and injury have been demonstrated. However, as of yet, no effects on epiphytic plants have been reported. In this paper, we demonstrate the impact of research trails on the abundance of an epiphytic tropical bromeliad, Guzmania vittata, at a research site in Peruvian Amazonia. Compared to the interior of the forest, the abundance of this bromeliad is significantly higher along the research trails. While we do not know the exact cause for the increased bromeliad abundance along the trails, we discuss enhanced dispersal of anemochorous seeds as a potential mechanism that generates this impact.