Faculty Advisor

Woods, Carrie

Area of Study

Science and Mathematics

Publication Date

Summer 2016


Variations among microhabitats, such as within a single tree crown, create niches that foster species specialization and thus biodiversity. This study examined the effect of branch size, height, canopy cover, tree zone, distance along branch, humus depth, and humus water content on epiphyte species composition and diversity in Big leaf maples in the Hoh Rainforest of Washington state. We climbed three maples and surveyed six tree zones, collecting humus samples from the moss matts and using the dot-intercept method on an acetate grid sheet to count species of moss, liverwort, lichen, and fern. Species composition was significantly different from random, and was in large part driven by structural variations among zones. Since biodiversity builds upon itself, investigating microhabitat specialization helps us understand the role that the complex and vibrant ecosystem within the temperate rainforest canopy plays.


University of Puget Sound