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Background. The specific relationships between hosts and epiphytes are fairly unknown. Biotic factors contributing to epiphytic distribution have generally been considered secondary predictors to epiphyte growth and range. Invasive species pose risk to the biodiversity of epiphytes by altering the very specific environments epiphytes require to grow, which could ultimately harm the ecosystem as a whole. This study investigates the relationship between a tropical island vascular epiphyte, Didymoglassum tahitense, to wood density, bark phosphorus and host species in order to understand the specific interactions between host and epiphyte. Methods. Epiphytic surveys were conducted on the two native trees N. forsteri and I. fagifer and two invasive trees S. campanulata and P. falcataria to test for D. tahitense abundance and presence. Wood density for all tree species was calculated with the equation density=mass/volume, where volume was found using the displacement method and the mass by calculating dry mass. Phosphorus concentrations in the bark and epiphyte were found using an elemental analyzer. Results. The study found that D. tahitense preferred to live on the two native species N. forsteri and I. fagifer and that no D. tahitense grew on the invasive trees S. campanulata and P. falcataria. Of these four tree species, the two native trees had lower bark density and higher phosphorus concentrations where the invasive trees had higher bark density and lower phosphorus amounts. Discussion. With these findings, I assume that D. tahitense is host specific to species with high phosphorus in their wood.
This is a submission to PeerJ for review.
This is the code done on the program R studio, done with the supplementaryRAWdata 1 and 2