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Forests 2018, 9(5), 260; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9050260

Fog Water Is Important in Maintaining the Water Budgets of Vascular Epiphytes in an Asian Tropical Karst Forests during the Dry Season

1
Key Laboratory of Tropical Forest Ecology, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming 650223, China
2
College of Resources and Environment, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 11 March 2018 / Revised: 28 April 2018 / Accepted: 7 May 2018 / Published: 10 May 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Ecology and Management)
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Abstract

Fog may be an important source of water for forest vascular epiphytes on trees, because they lack direct access to sources of soil water, but little is known about the water use proportions from various sources and potential water uptake pathways in epiphytes. Here, we analyzed leaf carbon isotope ratios as a measure of water use efficiency (WUE), proportions of fog, rain, and soil water use, and foliar water uptake (FWU) in species of epiphyte and their host trees in a tropical karst dwarf forest in China during the dry season. We found that the WUE, as represented by leaf δ13C, was generally enriched in the epiphyte species compared to their host trees. Epiphytes used substantial proportions of fog water, whereas water use in the host trees was dominated by soil water. The leaves of epiphytes and host trees absorbed water following immersion in water for 3 h and FWU possibly related to foliar epicuticular structures, such as fungal endophytes. Our results show a divergence of water use strategies between epiphytes and their hosts and highlight the importance of fog water for epiphytes during the dry season and under a climate change scenario with a reduced occurrence of fog events. View Full-Text
Keywords: fog; stable isotope; water use efficiency; foliar water uptake; climate change fog; stable isotope; water use efficiency; foliar water uptake; climate change
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Wu, Y.; Song, L.; Liu, W.; Liu, W.; Li, S.; Fu, P.; Shen, Y.; Wu, J.; Wang, P.; Chen, Q.; Lu, H. Fog Water Is Important in Maintaining the Water Budgets of Vascular Epiphytes in an Asian Tropical Karst Forests during the Dry Season. Forests 2018, 9, 260.

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