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Williams College

Publication Date

Fall 2018

Program Name

Tanzania: Wildlife Conservation and Political Ecology

Abstract

Although orchids are common in Mazumbai Forest Reserve (MFR), there are limited resources on where they grow and how to identify them. The primary objective of this study is to create an updated catalog of orchids in MFR, using species abundance, richness and diversity of the orchids as indicators of where orchids prefer to grow in MFR. Orchid species vary greatly as altitude changes, making it important to survey orchids across different altitudes. Therefore, Mazumbai Forest was split into five different altitudinal bands spanning 1400 – 1900m and six 100 x 20m plots in each band were surveyed for both epiphytic and terrestrial orchids. All orchid species recorded was also photographed: both as a means of identification, and as a future reference for orchid species determination. In total, 337 individual orchids, and 15 different orchid species were cataloged. The catalog pictures all 15 species of orchids and gives a short description on the morphological characteristics, and habitat of each species (Appendix III). A one-way ANOVA showed that orchid abundance was significantly different across altitudes, F (4, 25) = 3.23, p = 0.03), but orchid richness was not F (4,25) = 1.82, p > 0.05. Orchid abundance was greatest from 1400 – 1500m elevation (n = 141), and species richness was greatest from 1500 – 1600m elevation (n = 7). Diversity, calculated using Simpson’s Index of Diversity was highest between 1600 – 1700m (D = 0.615), and lowest between 1400 – 1500m (D = 0.372). Terrestrial orchids were only found from 1700 – 1900m elevation, while epiphytic orchids were found in all elevation bands. Epiphytic orchids had a variety of tree hosts (n = 23) and did not appear to strongly prefer one tree species.

Disciplines

Biodiversity | Botany | Environmental Sciences | Plant Biology | Plant Sciences

 

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