Ecophysiological Strategies of Xerophytic and Amphibious Plants in the Neotropics
Keywords:xerophytic plantes, amphibious plants
Due to a growing interest in biodiversity issues, plant ecology research in Brazil in the past decades has predominantly aimed to produce descriptive accounts of vegetation structure, floristics and phytosociology. However, following the tradition of the notable Brazilian ecologists of the 40's and 50's, several studies conducted by a distinctive group of young Brazilian researchers were characteristically concerned with the relationship between plants and theirs physical and chemical environment. Thus, the main purpose of this volume is to review the bulk of achievements of this group of functional ecologists in order to call the attention of our expressive new generation of plant ecologists to functional and adaptive mechanisms related to plant survival and growth in environments subjected to seasonal drought or flooding. Therefore, the reviews were grouped under two sections, namely Xerophytic Plants and Amphibious Plants. The reviews altogether quote over 700 references gathering tropical examples of plant life strategies, contemporary theoretical issues related to stress ecophysiology, and modern techniques for measuring and assessing plant fitness, survival and productivity. Despite all this effort there are many gaps still to be filled. We hope this volume will contribute to point out directions for future research. We are indebted to the Brazilian Botanical Society (SBB) who let us organize the Ecophysiology Symposium in the XLVII Congresso Nacional de Botânica (22, 23/vi/1996), where these reviews were presented. CNPq, RHAE/Meio Ambiente ans SBBB financed the trip of the invited researchers. The Post-Graduate Program in Ecology of Federal University of Rio de Janeiro allocated funds for the edition of this volume. We are particularly thankful to the reviewers, whose comments improved the quality of the present reviews; and to Prof. Dorothy Sue Dunn de Araujo who patiently improved the English language used in all chapters. Considering that one of the main goals of the series Oecologia Brasiliensis is to attend the demand for literature of the vast number of Brazilian students of Ecology and that the three previous volumes were issued in Portuguese, it is worth to mention that the present volume was written in English for two reasons. The main reason is that the reduced number of Brazilian specialist on the theme dealt with here required the review of the articles were done by foreign researchers; secondly, we believe that in such manner we contribute to launch the series beyond our geographical borders. The Editors of the Volume.