Re: A question primarily for our esteemed experts and botanists!
- Subject: Re: A question primarily for our esteemed experts and botanists!
- From: ExoticRainforest <Steve@ExoticRainforest.com>
- Date: Fri, 10 Sep 2010 15:16:31 -0500
Thanks for the excellent info Ted! Leland Miyano recommended I read
some of the works of Dr. Nalini M. Nadkarni who is known as the "Queen
of the Canopy" and have been learning quite a bit of the same from her
papers. It does appear epiphytic plants find a way to absorb nutrients
in the canopy without necessarily drawing them directly from the host
tree which explains some of my original queries. She also has some
excellent complete lectures that can be seen on the net.
Thanks again, and I do hope these types of discussions will continue on
this forum. If anyone is interested you can find several of Dr.
Nadkarni's papers by typing her full name into Google and following it
with "PDF". I am learning a great deal more than I expected! The rain
forest is a very complex place and the more we understand how Mother
Nature makes it operate the more we learn about how to care for our plants!
All of what you have just posted is now a part of my files!
On 9/8/2010 12:02, Theodore Held wrote:
Most plants with leaves have the ability to redistribute nutrients to
other tissues as those older leaves become senile. The redistribution
is not complete, however. I have figures for this, but I think it runs
about 50% or so being reabsorbed, the balance remaining locked in the
old leaf tissue.
Of course, then the old stuff falls off and the decomposers come into
play. Eventually these will get all the rest of the goodies out and
make them into tissues of the decomposers.
What this means is that there is a small amount of material available
to epiphytes that does not involve parasitism of the host plant. Since
80% or so of terrestrial plants form micorrhizal associations with
microorganisms (mainly fungi) around their roots, one is probably safe
to assume that the decomposing mats of vegetable matter lodged in tree
crotches yield part of their nitrogen and other nutrients through the
microrrhizal organisms to the epiphytes in return for certain sugars
and other compounds exuded by the roots of the epiphytes and absorbed
in turn by the microorganisms. This is true symbiosis.
Mycorhizzal associations are triggered in nutrient-poor environments.
If epiphytes are adequately nourished they tend to treat micorhizzal
organisms as enemies.
The bark material probably contains very little nitrogen by itself,
mainly consisting of structural polysaccharides like cellulose and
lignin. Not very nutritious, I expect. Of course there will be goodies
in the conductive tree tissues deeper within. But then the feeding
plants would be parasites and not epiphytes.
There is also a possible dimension, especially in wet forests, where
some microorganisms, such as blue-green algae, also act as nitrogen
fixers. This means that they manufacture "fixed" nitrogen (as ammonia,
nitrates, and nitrites) from the air. This mechanism is a huge source
of nitrogen fertilizer in bodies or water (like the ocean). But maybe
this can happen also on a wet tree limb. There are other nitrogen
fixers throughout the biosphere. Maybe those contribute to the ecology
of rain forests. All these guys release their fixed nitrogen when they
die. It takes a few cycles for it to return to atmospheric nitrogen
On Mon, Sep 6, 2010 at 12:09 AM, ExoticRainforest
Anyone is welcome to chime in on this but I have come up with a small theory
I can neither prove nor discredit. Is this possible?
I recently read a short piece about the bark of trees in the rain forest
being capable of storing nitrogen. In fact, I have read many times that the
trees in the forest suck up the majority of the nutrients created as
leaves, other trees, burned trees and animal debris fall to the ground and
decompose. If this is so then is it possible that hemiepiphytic and well as
epithetic species climb not only to reach brighter light but also in order
to leach some quantity of fertilizer (nitrogen) from the trees themselves?
Is it possible other mineral can be sucked from the tree by all the roots
that grasp the tree's trunk? For those that may not be aware, an epiphyte
and hemispheric species are plants that live attached to trees. These types
of species are very common in the aroid group.
To me this makes sense but I want to have it scientifically confirmed or
denied before I add any of this info to my own published works.
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