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

First Author: Wu Y
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 13C, 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.
Contact the author: Wu Y.Song L.Liu WJ
Page Number: 260
Issue: 2018
Impact Factor: 1.951
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PubYear: 2018 MAY
Volume: 9
Publication Name: Forests
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