Ecological patterns of lignicolous myxomycetes from two different forest types in Costa Rica
Rojas, Carlos; Valverde, Randall
Lignicolous myxomycetes comprise an ecological guild that has been extensively studied in temperate areas. However, there is still incomplete information about the group for the tropics. Myxomycete assemblages associated with bark and wood from two different tropical life zones and two different forest stages were studied using a combination of basic ecological assessment methods and functional ecological approaches. Results showed that diversity, richness and evenness are all higher in dry forests than in wet ones, but almost no differences in the general structure of assemblages were found between old growth and successional forest patches. Abundance models for the assemblages studied seem to show, at least based on fruiting body information, narrower niche breadth values and a higher level of coexistence in dry areas. Differences were found across the two areas in the average number of fruiting bodies per fructification as well as on the characteristics of the spores and lignicolous substrates were myxomycetes were recorded. The information generated herein provides some support for the idea that there are differences in the dynamics of the reproductive stage of tropical lignicolous myxomycetes between dry and wet areas and that these differences may be documented through a functional trait-based approach showing differential characteristics in reproductive structures across areas.