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The College of Wooster

Publication Date

Fall 2023

Program Name

Panama: Tropical Ecology, Marine Ecosystems, and Biodiversity Conservation


Research on bryophytes (SL) in the tropics has been lacking compared with the high number of species found there and the potential benefit of bryophytes (SL) as indicators of pollutants and other forms of human disturbance. This study investigated whether or not bryophyte (SL) growth patterns showed relation when compared with environmental factors on the mountain Cerro Gaital in El Valley, Panamá. Whether or not bryophytes (SL) are present, extent of the area covered by their growth, and height of their growth are all aspects of bryophyte (SL) growth that were used. In this study, these three aspects are compared with three environmental factors – substrate type, altitude, and canopy cover. Data were collected along transects at four sites at different altitudes along a trail ascending the mountain. Hypothesis tests were run on each of the nine comparisons between the three bryophyte (SL) growth aspects and the three environmental factors. The results very strongly suggested that there were positive associations between bryophyte (SL) presence and substrate type, as well as presence and altitude and growth height and altitude. They also strongly indicated associations between bryophyte (SL) cover and substrate, bryophyte (SL) cover and altitude, and growth height and substrate. Canopy cover only showed an association with growth height and failed to show one for either presence or bryophyte (SL) cover. In general, the results of the tests involving substrate types and altitudes resembled results from other studies done in the tropics and elsewhere. However, the results for canopy cover did not match with other results and the one test that passed showed a negative association between canopy cover and growth height which is the opposite of what other findings indicate.


Biodiversity | Botany | Forest Biology | Latin American Studies | Plant Biology | Research Methods in Life Sciences


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