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An exploratory faunal survey of New Zealand temperate rainforest epiphytes

Abstract
Epiphyte communities and their corresponding faunal assemblages were quantified on the canopy trees Agathis australis and Metrosideros robusta. A diverse community of native fauna that included invertebrates, reptiles and birds was associated with the nest epiphytes Collospermum hastatum and Astelia solandri as well as mats of small, mantling epiphytic plants. The first record of the copepod Attheyella lewisae in epiphyte phytotelmata is reported as well as the second New Zealand report of geckos in epiphytes. Alongside 1,003 video sightings and 794 collected specimens from only four host trees, these records signal the significant potential of canopy studies to reveal unknown communities and relationships in New Zealand’s forest canopies. The study of epiphyte-fauna associations in New Zealand and elsewhere is constrained by complications inherent with accessing forest canopies. Canopy video cameras and substrate sampling were successfully employed in the first all-taxa exploratory survey of epiphyte communities in a temperate rainforest in northern New Zealand. An evaluation of different research methods indicates that a range of surveying techniques should be employed to sample diversity and abundance of different microhabitats. Key words: epiphyte; fauna; invertebrate; reptile; canopy; habitat
Type
Journal Article
Type of thesis
Series
Citation
Date
2014-06-01
Publisher
New Zealand Natural Sciences
Degree
Supervisors
Rights
© 2014. This work is licensed under a CC BY 4.0 licence.