Now that Juliana’s experiment is finished (for now, a second one is coming), lab work starts. There are several analyses that Juliana needs to run on her samples to be able to understand how light availability affects food webs and energy pathways. On the right, Juliana and I very focused on sorting invertebrates for community and stable isotope analyses!
Now it is time to start our sampling of urban bromeliads! Because urban bromeliads are exposed to increased temperatures and pollution, we want to explore their invertebrate diversity and stoichiometry. Bromeliads are commonly planted in public and particular gardens all around Brazilian cities because of their great beauty, which provides a great opportunity to study the dynamics of these systems in urban centers.
We know that in natural areas bromeliads host a large diversity of invertebrates, but we don’t know much about the organisms living in urban bromeliads. Because bromeliads are container-inhabiting mosquitoes (and many other invertebrate species) we decided to sample bromeliads in Petropolis, a city north of Rio, which is also known as The Imperial City in honour to the last Emperor of Brazil (Pedro II). Here is Vinicius and Juliana sampling bromeliads in an urban park in Petropolis. After this sampling, we come back to Rio with our “combi” full of bromeliads, which were used by Vinicius student, Nicholas Marino in a experiment focused on modelling water dynamics in the tanks of bromeliads.
After Petropolis, we sampled bromeliads in Rio do Janeiro. Within Petropolis and Rio we find some areas that are more urbanized than others, and this could help us to understand the community structure and the stoichiometry of these aquatic systems along gradients of urbanization. On the left, you can see Vinicius and Juliana sampling invertebrates in a “Carioca” Bromeliad.
After identifying the invertebrate species we find in these systems, we will run chemical analyses on bromeliad tissue, tank water, litter, and invertebrates! See how green is the water of these bromeliads, although you cannot see it in the picture, many of these bottles are full of mosquito larvae.
I am very excited about what could potentially be living (beside mosquitoes) in these miniature ecosystems! We will know very soon…