Main content area

Effect of induced warming on survival and growth of Tillandsia recurvata seedlings: A two-year experiment

Pérez-Noyola, Francisco Javier, Flores, Joel, Yáñez-Espinosa, Laura, Bautista-Redonda, Francisco Elihú, Badano, Ernesto I.
Journal of arid environments 2020 v.179 pp. 104177
Prosopis laevigata, Tillandsia recurvata, ecosystems, epiphytes, extinction, global warming, heat tolerance, leaf length, models, seedling growth, seedlings, temperature, Mexico
Global warming may increase the danger of local extinction for plant species with low tolerance to high temperatures. Tillandsia recurvata is a bromeliad epiphyte native to semiarid ecosystems of America. In North-Central Mexico, Prosopis laevigata (mesquite) is the main phorophyte of T. recurvata. Climate change models indicate that temperature will rise between 1 and 2 °C by the end of 2030, and this could increase vulnerability of T. recurvata populations. This study aims to experimentally determine the effects of warming on the survival and growth of T. recurvata seedlings, introducing a new design of chambers to simulate warming for epiphytes in the field. Warming chambers were built with transparent acrylic sheets and installed on branches of mesquites on December 2016 and T. recurvata seedlings were sowed in and outside of them. Survival was assessed every 14 days until November 2018 and seedling length was measured at the beginning and at the end of the experiment. After two years, seedling survival was 4.16% within the warming chambers and 42.85% outside, leaf length growth was 0.004 mm/day within warming chambers and 0.009 mm/day in controls. In a potential warming scenario, T. recurvata populations could decrease because of low seedling growth and seedling survival.