Bromeliad (Bromeliaceae) tank organism database

Assembled by Evelyn Skidmore, Dorothy E. Tuthill and Gregory K. Brown

Bromeliad Research Lab, Department of Botany, University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming, U.S.A.

Ecologically, bromeliads are an important and conspicuous component in tropical and sub-tropical New World biomes. One aspect of bromeliad ecological study, however, has been underdeveloped, i.e., the documentation of organisms that live in, or use, bromeliad tanks and the community dynamics within these tanks. Water impounding, or tank bromeliads, have been characterized as "keystone species" for biodiversity maintenance (Gilbert, 1980). The tanks (phytotelmata) are important, reliable sources of fresh water, especially in a forest canopy, and provide habitat for a diverse array of animals, protists, algae, fungi, bacteria, and even other vascular plants. Some bromeliad tank dwelling species are endemic.

In 1983, J.H. Frank published a review of the organisms then reported from bromeliad tanks. All of the reports from Frank (1983) are included in this data base, as well as all published reports we have been able to find since 1983, and some that predate Frank (1983), but were not included in that review.

We have made every effort to accurately record the information from cited reports. Taxon names for both the bromeliad host and the tank associate are reported here exactly as they appeared in the cited publication. We take full responsibility for any errors.

It is our intention to keep this data base current. New reports of organisms documented from bromeliad phytotelmata will be added as these published reports are found. Please contact Dorothy Tuthill ( or Greg Brown ( if you encounter published reports that need to be added to the data base or if data base errors are located.

Cited Literature

L. E. Gilbert. 1980. Food web organization and the conservation of Neotropical diversity. In: M. E. Soule & B. A. Wicox (eds.) Conservation Biology. An Evolutionary Perspective. Sinauer Press, Sunderland, MA.

J. H. Frank. 1983. Bromeliad phytotelmata and their biota, especially mosquitoes. In: J. H. Frank & L. P. Lounibos (eds.) Pytotelmata: Terrestrial Plants as Hosts for Aquatic Insect Communities. Plexus Publ., Inc, Medford, NJ.

Access Bromeliad Tank Dwellers Database Here.