Hakuna Telmata

Miranda, Ann, Fredrik and I spent the past week in breathtaking Monteverde looking at a mini-ecosystem we never would’ve imagined would be so interesting: phytotelmata!


What are phytotelmata, do you ask? Well, they’re tiny pools of water located in plants, like bromeliads, for example.

The challenge with studying bromeliads is that they’re typically located high up on trees in the forest, making them largely unreachable to scientists. Luckily, we had a garden planted outside our research station that let us examine these organisms up close!


We also found some pretty cool stuff when we looked at what these “islands” of water contained: even some organisms that haven’t been seen in almost a hundred years.

Photo credit: Miranda Stein ’16


Pretty exciting!

Pura Vida,




Lyrics by Miranda Stein ’16

Phytotelmata! What a wonderful phrase!

Phytotelmata! Ain’t no passing craze!

It means a tiny pond, in some bromelidae!

It’s a mystery, of biology!


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