November 02, 2018

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Photographer: Renan Sota Guimaraes 
Summary Author: Renan Sota Guimaraes 

Featured above are bromeliads as observed in an electric grid near Carambeí, Paraná, Brazil. Bromeliads (Tillandsia recurvata) are aerial plants known for not requiring soil to fulfill their life cycle. Modified hairs on the surface of their leaves, called trichomes, help this odd plant to survive by filtering water and other nutrients from the ambient air and airborne dust. Moreover, trichomes reduce the effects of solar exposure and prevent bromeliads from losing water. In drier environments Tillandsia species open their stomata, which further reduces the amount of water loss.

Bromeliads bloom only once during their lifetime. Seeds of Tillandsia are extremely light and can easily fly long distances. When they settle in yarns they're still able to germinate. However, there's a high mortality rate and low growth rate in these harsh environments. Because bromeliads pick up trace amounts of toxins in the atmosphere, they're sometimes used in atmospheric biomonitoring. Note that when growing in electric grids, as observed in these photos, they don't seem to interfere with the distribution of electric energy. Photos taken on September 15, 2018. 

Photo Details: Top - Camera: Apple iPhone 5s; Exposure Time: 0.0019s (1/526); Aperture: ƒ/2.2; ISO equivalent: 32; Focal Length (35mm): 145. Bottom - same except: Exposure Time: 0.0002s (1/4115); Focal Length (35mm): 43.