Fern sporophyte growth observation at the Luquillo Experimental Forest (LEF)



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Long-term (20-year) monitoring sites for monitoring ferns were established in the Luquillo Experimental Forest in 1991.  Individuals of approximately 20 species of ferns were monitored on a regular basis from September 1991 through January 2010 to document annual and seasonal variation in plant and leaf traits, leaf  and spore production rates, as well as  and leaf damage levels. Effects of natural disturbanceincluding a drought in 1994 and Hurricane Georges in 1998 are reflected in these observations. The study includes sites in the El Verde, and Espiritu Santo and Bisley watersheds.  The data set also includes observations from a comparative study of ferns in the mangrove community at the Jobos Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve that was begun in January 1998 and completed in January 2001.

Date Range: 
1991-09-01 00:00:00 to 2010-01-31 00:00:00

Publication Date: 

2011-04-05 00:00:00



Additional Project roles: 

Name: Miguel C Leon Role: Data Manager


Individual sporophytes representing a range of life history classes (mainly spore-producing sporophytes) were selected for monitoring. Plants were chosen at one or more sites with relatively large concentrations of each species. Selected plants are mostly well off the main trails and accessible for measuring without damage to the surrounding areas. Initially, a representative sample (at least ten individuals, if possible) of plants at each site were selected. Additional individuals are added at later monitoring periods to fill gaps in life history class samples. At sites where it is possible to monitor all ferns present, new plants are added to the study when they are large enough to tag. Each plant is given a unique number and each of the leaves on the plant is measured and described. Each plant is identified with a white plastic tag attached one of the younger leaves and microhabitat data on substrate, slope and neighboring plants is recorded and maintained in a separate plant control file. Each leaf is identified with a small segment of colored plastic covered wire. Plants are monitored at intervals of 4 months during phase 1 (through January 30, 2001) and annually during phase 2 (through January 30, 2011). Data sheets were prepared prior to each visit to reflect the leaf additions, loss and changes to plants observed during the previous monitoring period. Both plant location and leaf identification information are included on the data sheets. For each plant in the study, the disappearance of previously monitored leaves is noted and new leaves are measured.



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