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The epiphyte Microcladia coulteri (Rhodophyta) : changes in population structure with spatial and temporal variation in availablity of host species Kendrick, Gary


A comparison of the population structures of the epiphyte, Microcladia coulteri and the three hosts: Prionitis lanceolata, Iridaea cordata and Odonthalia floccosa, was made at Beaver Point, Saltspring Island, British Columbia. The three host species had distinct seasonal patterns in density and size class distribution. By the use of ANOVA, the partitioning of variation in epiphyte population structure with the seasons, between host species and, within host species variations in size of thalli, reproductive status and spatial distribution was performed. Small percentages of total determined variation were accounted for by seasonality in the abundance of size class and reproductive components of the epiphyte population and distribution of the epiphyte between host species. Larger percentages were due to variations in epiphyte population structure with within host species variations in size and reproductive status and the spatial variation in availability of host substrata. It was concluded that persistence of M. coulteri in relatively stable populations, both temporally and spatially, was due to differential use of available host substrata combined with continuous reproductive output and recruitment of the epiphyte.

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