Diversity and rarity in an Andean cloud forest
Reynolds, Alexander Anthony
MetadataShow full item record
Diversity and rarity of orchid species were assessed in an Andean cloud forest, the Maquipucuna Reserve, Ecuador (00°02’-08’N; 78° 35’-38’W). Over 322 species are reported with 56 endemic species, an increase of 117 species over the last published list. General mechanisms for diversity and rarity of orchids discussed include pollinator relationships, biogeography, and microclimatic variation. During a one-year monitoring program, interseasonal euglossine bee population dynamics were surveyed using chemical baits, and the pollination ecology of an endemic orchid, Chondroscaphe embreei was determined by observing the phenology of three subpopulations. Pollination success rates, 7.3% (male) and 1.0% (female) were as low as recorded for any tropical orchid. C. embreei is deceit pollinated by a male euglossine bee, Euglossa trinotata. Low fruit set results from low pollinator visitation, a natural consequence of its non-rewarding strategy. Potential conservation strategies for endemic species are discussed, including micropropagation, reintroduction, and environmental education.