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Article

Dry-Season Fog Water Utilization by Epiphytes in a Subtropical Montane Cloud Forest of Southwest China

by 1,2,3,†, 1,2,†, 1,2, 1,2, 4, 5 and 1,2,6,*
1
CAS Key Laboratory of Tropical Forest Ecology, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Mengla 666303, China
2
Core Botanical Gardens, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Mengla 666303, China
3
University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
4
Thermo Fisher Scientific, Shanghai 201206, China
5
School of Biology and Ecology, University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469, USA
6
Ailaoshan Station for Subtropical Forest Ecosystem Studies, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Puer 676209, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Academic Editor: Roberto Greco
Water 2021, 13(22), 3237; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13223237
Received: 11 October 2021 / Revised: 8 November 2021 / Accepted: 10 November 2021 / Published: 15 November 2021
Fog water is generally considered to be an important water source for epiphytes in cloud forests because they cannot directly access ground-level water sources. However, the water use proportions of potential water sources and water use efficiency of epiphytes in the subtropical montane cloud forests (MCF) remain to be further explored. In this study, we investigated the water use pattern in the dry season and the intrinsic water use efficiency (WUEi) of four epiphyte groups (i.e., epiphytic lichens, epiphytic bryophytes, epiphytic ferns, and epiphytic seed plants) using stable isotope (δ2H, δ18O, and δ13C) techniques. Our results indicated that the water sources of epiphytes were significantly different among groups and species. The contribution proportions of fog water to epiphytic lichens, epiphytic bryophytes, epiphytic ferns, and epiphytic seed plants were 83.2%, 32.7%, 38.8% and 63.7%, respectively. Epiphytic lichens and epiphytic seed plants mainly depended on fog water whereas the epiphytic bryophytes and epiphytic ferns relied on both fog water and humus. This may be due to their differences in morphological and structural traits (e.g., thallus or leaves, rhizoid or roots). Additionally, the difference in WUEi was also significant among epiphyte groups and species, which could be related to their different water acquisition patterns. In conclusion, our study reveals the differentiation of water utilization in epiphytes and confirms the importance of fog water for epiphytes during the dry season. View Full-Text
Keywords: fog water; stable isotopes; water source; intrinsic water use efficiency; differentiation; drought fog water; stable isotopes; water source; intrinsic water use efficiency; differentiation; drought
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MDPI and ACS Style

Liu, L.-L.; Yang, B.; Lu, H.-Z.; Wu, Y.; Meng, X.-J.; Zhang, Y.-J.; Song, L. Dry-Season Fog Water Utilization by Epiphytes in a Subtropical Montane Cloud Forest of Southwest China. Water 2021, 13, 3237. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13223237

AMA Style

Liu L-L, Yang B, Lu H-Z, Wu Y, Meng X-J, Zhang Y-J, Song L. Dry-Season Fog Water Utilization by Epiphytes in a Subtropical Montane Cloud Forest of Southwest China. Water. 2021; 13(22):3237. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13223237

Chicago/Turabian Style

Liu, Lu-Lu, Bin Yang, Hua-Zheng Lu, Yi Wu, Xian-Jing Meng, Yong-Jiang Zhang, and Liang Song. 2021. "Dry-Season Fog Water Utilization by Epiphytes in a Subtropical Montane Cloud Forest of Southwest China" Water 13, no. 22: 3237. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13223237

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