Phenologies of the Tabonuco Forest trees and shrubs

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These data are being used to, among other things, (1) determine the seasonality of flowering and fruiting in Tabonuco forest and test hypotheses concerning the causation of seasonality (or lack thereof), (2) test the effect of annual variation in rainfall and other climatic variables on seed and fruit production of individual species, and (3) compare the relative dispersal of species on the Luquillo Forest Dynamics Plot by applying information on the spatial distribution of canopy trees to the data on seed and fruit fall. These data also serve as background information on the flowering and fruiting of individual species.

Date Range: 
1992-04-01 00:00:00 to 2015-12-30 00:00:00

Publication Date: 

2011-04-05 00:00:00

Additional Project roles: 

Name: Eda Melendez-Colom Role: Data Manager
Name: Christopher Nytch Role: Associated Researcher


Seasonal rhythms of flowering and fruiting are an important component of the community dynamics of tropical forest and can be a critical determinant of the dynamics of consumer populations.
At El Verde Field Station we placed numbered baskets, 0.16 m2 in area, along trails in the Luquillo Forest Dynamics Plot (baskets 1-120) and Bisley (baskets 121-180) to measure flower and seed rain.  We sampled the weekly production of fern and angiosperm flowers and fruits between July 1, 1992 and June 29, 1994.  Data collection was terminated at Bisley at the end of the period, but sampling continues on a biweekly basis in the LFDP.  Each reproductive part collected from Bisley and the LFDP was counted and identified to species (in the dataset using a six letter code; see Variables description) and type (identified using a number code; see Variables description).

In 2006 we increased the size of the LFDP traps used to monitor phenology from 0.16 m2 to 0.5 m2 to have our methods conform to those used in similar projects in central Panama, Amazonian Ecuador, and Malaysia.  To calibrate the two different trap sizes, between August 24, 2006 and August 9, 2007 flower and seed/fruit fall was monitored in the two sets of traps placed alongside one another.  On August 9, 2007 the small traps (LFDP1) were eliminated from the LFDP and data have been collected using the large traps (LFDP2) thereafter.  The LFDP2 collection is ongoing and will be continually updated with more recent data as it becomes available.

The Bisley, LFDP1 and LFDP2 data have been separated into 3 distinct files for publication on the LUQ LTER web site.
Additional notes about the Bisley, LFDP1 and LFDP2 datasets:

  • The numbers of fruiting bodies per species per basket were counted per sampling date for all angiosperms and ferns.
  • Only presence/absence of flowers was recorded per angiosperm species per basket per sampling date (i.e., the number is not counted)
  • Exception: Flowers were counted for LFDP1 from 4 April 1992 through 5 May 1993.  These counts were removed from the “Lfdp1-ElVerdePhenology.txt” data file, so as to provide internal consistency, but the data have been stored in another file which can be accessed by contacting the LFDP Research Manager (
  • Unknown species have been removed from dataset.
  • Regularity of phenology collections varied between 1992 and 2007 for the following reasons:
  • We sampled the weekly production of flowers, fruits, and fern sori between July 1, 1992 and June 29, 1994, and subsequently on a biweekly basis up through August 9, 2007.
  • Phenology was not collected after Hurricane George (1998) until the beginning of January 1999.
  • From 2005-2007 there were occasional sampling weeks that were missed, due to the absence of Jess Zimmerman (who was on leave at NSF), and a focus on another research project at El Verde Field Station that drew personnel resources away from the phenology collection.

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