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Abstract

The large, long-lived, epiphytic bromeliad Tillandsia utriculata is currently listed as state-endangered in Florida due to significant population reduction from predation by an invasive weevil, Metamasius callizona. We have developed a novel demographic model of a population of T. utriculata in Myakka River State Park (MRSP) in Sarasota, Florida using a stage-structured matrix model. Analysis of the model revealed conditions for population viability over a variety of parameter scenarios. Model analysis showed that without weevil predation the minimum germination rate required for population viability is low (4–16%), and that given a viable population at structural equilibrium we would expect to find <1% of the population in flower or post-flowering each year and, at most, about 10% of rosettes with longest leaf length (LLL) > 15 cm in flower or post-flowering each year. Additionally, the model presented here provides a basis for further analyses which explore specific conservation strategies.

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