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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2017

Tree hollows can affect epiphyte species composition

Tatsumi, Shinichi; Ohgue, Takayuki; Azuma, Wakana; Tuovinen, Veera; Imada, Yume; Mori, Akira S.; Thor, Goran; Ranlund, Asa


Tree hollows often harbor animals and microorganisms, thereby storing nutritive resources derived from their biological activities. The outflows from tree hollows can create unique microenvironments, which may affect communities of epiphytic organisms on trunk surfaces below the hollows. In this study, we tested whether the species richness and composition of epiphytic bryophytes (liverworts and mosses) and lichens differ above and below tree hollows of Aria japonica and Cercidiphyllum japonicum in a Japanese temperate forest. The species richness of epiphytic bryophytes and lichens did not differ above and below hollows; however, the species composition of bryophytes differed significantly above and below hollows. Indicator species analyses showed that the moss species Anomodon tristis and the liverwort species Porella vernicosa were significantly more common below than above hollows, while the liverwort species Radula japonica and four lichen species, including Leptogium cyanescens, occurred more frequently above than below hollows. Our results highlight that tree hollows can produce unique microenvironments on trunk surfaces that potentially contribute to the maintenance of epiphytic diversity on a local scale.


Biodiversity; Cryptogams; Bryophytes; Lichens; Tree cavities

Published in

Ecological Research
2017, Volume: 32, number: 4, pages: 503-509