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The project


We have organized our research in a series of hierarchical questions, which in their sum will yield a broad theoretical framework on how changes in the hydrologic regime affect biological communities and ecosystem function.

We conduct replicated experiments over geographical scales that encompass substantial turnover in species composition. We experimentally change precipitation entering bromeliad ecosystems in 3 field sites covering the range of faunal diversity in general in the Americas:  French Guiana (latitude 5°N, Petit-Saut Field Station; the centre of bromeliad radiation and a hotspot for bromeliad faunal diversity, Costa Rica (10°N, Pitilla Field Station) which has a moderate species pool, and Puerto Rico (18°N, Luquillo LTER Field Station), a Caribbean site with a depauperate species pool.

                  Estacion biologica Pitilla, Costa Rica
Luquillo, Puerto RicoPetit-Saut, French Guiana
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Tank bromeliads

The microbial-faunal food web inhabiting water-filled bromeliads is especially amenable to studies of aquatic-terrestrial interactions, food web structure, and ecosystem function, because it is small in size, can be exhaustively sampled, and because it is naturally replicated throughout the neotropics.

In Neotropical forests, a substantial fraction of the freshwater available is impounded within the rosettes of tank-bromeliads (Bromeliaceae). Bromeliads are flowering plants represented by some 3140 species. The rosettes of bromeliads form wells that collect rainwater and leaf litter, and provide a habitat for aquatic organisms ranging from prokaryotes to invertebrates.

Last updated February 6, 2013

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