Diversity and abundance relationships ofvascular epiphytes were examined at several sites in southern Rorida and Peru with reference to the patchiness ofthe epiphytic biotope. Mortality rates were measured for four epiphytic bromeliads in southern Rorida. The number ofmain vertical stems produced by a tree was positively correlated with the number ofepiphytic individuals supported. Stem diameter had no effect on epiphyte abundance or diversity. The average annual mortality rate approaches 30 percent for Catopsis and Guzmania in southern Rorida. Several processes may account for the diversity ofepiphytes including habitat diversity,\ruche differentiation, ecological equivalency, and mass effect (sensu Schmida & Wilson, 1985). Ecological equivalents are most likely maintained by high mortality rates. This, coupled with the inherently patchy biotope, results in highly discontinuous populations, especially when populations are small as with many epiphytic orchids. Evolutionary implications ofthis are discussed.
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