Romdiaceae

Profile of an bromeliaceae: profile of an adaptive radiation

This book presents a synthesis of the extensive information available on the biology of Bromeliaceae, a largely Neotropical family of about 2700 described species. Reproductive and vegetative structure and related physiology, ecology and evolution are emphasized, rather than floristics and taxonomy. Guiding questions include: why is this family inordinately successful in arboreal (epiphytic) and other typically stressful habitats and also so important to extensive fauna beyond pollinators and frugivores in the forest canopy? Extraordinary and sometimes novel mechanisms that mediate water balance, tolerance for high and low light exposures, and mutualisms with ants have received much study and allow interesting comparisons among plant taxa, and help to explain why members of this taxon exhibit more adaptive and ecological variety than most other families of flowering plants. This volume concentrates on function and underlying mechanisms, and thus complements a literature that otherwise mostly ignores basic biology in favor of taxonomy and horticulture.

david h. benzing is the Robert S. Danforth Professor of Biology at Oberlin College, Ohio, USA. His research career has focused on the biology of epiphytic vegetation, especially bromeliads and orchids. He is author of The Biology of Bromeliads (1980) and Vascular Epiphytes (1990).

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