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Ecological Section

Farruggia, F. T. [1], Stevens, M. Henry H. [2], Vincent, Michael A. [2].

A Floristic Description of a Neotropical Coastal Savanna in Belize.

The diverse graminoid-dominated savannas of Central America remain poorly described. The flora and environment of a hyperseasonal coastal savanna near Sapodilla Lagoon, Stann Creek District, Belize were examined. Percent cover and frequency using plots and line transects were used to assess the community structure. We used non-metric multidimensional scaling and correlation to describe community-level variation and its environmental correlates. The flora consisted of 193 angiosperms, 2 gymnosperms, and 6 pteridophytes, and was dominated by graminoids. Species with the highest importance values were Mesosetum filifolium, Paspalum pulchellum, Rhynchospora plumosa, and Rhynchospora barbata. Woody species were scattered in dense clusters throughout the savanna, and were divided into a tall tree layer, dominated by Pinus caribaea, and a tree-palm-shrub layer, dominated by Acoelorraphe wrightii and Byrsonima crassifolia. Several large Acoelorraphe wrightii-dominated vernal pools were scattered about the landscape. Variation in species composition within the savanna correlated strongly with particular species (Acoelorraphe wrightii and Paspalum pulchellum), topography, cation exchange capacity, and copper concentration. Quantitative comparisons with two other savannas studied in Belize show distinct differences in flora, structure, and dominance in spite of previously being classified as similar.

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1 - Arizona State University, School of Life Sciences, Asu, Main Campus, Po Box 874501, Tempe, Arizona, 85287-4501, USA
2 - Miami University, Department of Botany, 316 Pearson Hall, Oxford, Ohio, 45056, USA

Neotropical flora
hyperseasonal savanna
non-metric multidimensional scaling.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: 47-8
Location: Salon F - Austin Grand Ballroom/Hilton
Date: Wednesday, August 17th, 2005
Time: 12:00 PM
Abstract ID:268

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