Ecology of the endangered Florida bromeliad Catopsis berteroniana (Schult.f.) Mez (Bromeliaceae)

Document Type



Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor's Name

Suzanne Koptur

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Jennifer H. Richards

Third Advisor's Name

Bradley C. Bennett

Date of Defense



Catopsis berteroniana is an epiphytic, tank-forming bromeliad occurring from southern Florida, through Mexico and the Caribbean, to Brazil. Though not federally listed, it is endangered in Florida. Its seedlings possess narrow, linear leaves with nonimbricate bases, a morphology hypothesized to facilitate drought tolerance. This study examines the population size structure and the growth and mortality of the morphological stages of C. berteroniana. Plant size and morphological category (atmospheric seedling, transitional juvenile, tank, and reproductive tank) were recorded for tagged individuals in Florida and the Bahamas in March and November of 2004. Site significantly affected population size distribution, the size of atmospheric seedlings and tanks, the proportion of increase in plant size and survivorship. Morphological class affected proportional size increase and mortality. This study demonstrates that seedlings of C. berteroniana grow faster and suffer higher mortality than large individuals, and suggests that populations of this species are stable or expanding.



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