Annals of Botany

Terrestrial predators and nutritional trade-off in Bromeliaceae

Bromeliads occur in many oligotrophic environments, due to the evolution of leaf trichomes, epiphytism, and CAM metabolism.

Leaf mass per area (LMA) of the species in the study
Leaf mass per area (LMA) of the leaves of the Bromelioideae species Ananas bracteatus (ecophysiological type II), Quesnelia arvensis , Aechmea blanchetiana and Neoregelia cruenta (type III), and in the Tillandsioideae species Vriesea gigantea and Vriesea bituminosa (type IV) and Tillandsia cyanea (type V). Different lower case letters indicate statistical differences among species, and upper case letters indicate statistical differences among ecophysiological types (ANOVA/Tukey HSD post-hoc test, α = 0·05).

Among bromeliads, Tillandsioideae possess the most derived features related to these traits. Using isotopic and physiological methods, Gonçalves et al. evaluate the ways in which terrestrial predators contribute to the nutritional status and performance of distinct bromeliad subfamilies, species and ecophysiological types. Bromeliads show a trade-off between the strategy of storing nitrogen in amino acids possibly for use during nutritional stress, or using nitrogen for soluble protein production perhaps for fast growth.