Bromeliad phytotelmata are habitats for different organisms and models for ecological studies. Although poorly known, these environments are widely distributed in tropical ecosystems, harboring cosmopolitan and endemic species. Here, we investigated the diversity of the eukaryotic community in bromeliad phytotelmata considering the influence of altitude. We randomly sampled three bromeliad individuals (twice per season over one year) at four altitudinal strata (20 m, 400 m, 910 m, and 915 m) through a mountain range in southern Brazil. Species richness of phytotelmata community was higher at intermediate altitude while community-wide multivariate analyses revealed differences in phytotelmata communities at each height. Winter was the season with highest community richness, but a peak in summer was observed. Diversity partitioning in different spatial components showed that gamma diversity decreased linearly with altitude, whereas alpha diversity peaked at intermediate altitudes, and beta diversity decreased with height. The relative importance of the components of beta diversity showed different patterns according to the altitude: turnover was more important at intermediate and lower levels, while higher altitude communities were more nested. Our results indicate that differences in height affect diversity patterns of bromeliad phytotelmata communities, which were more diverse at lower altitudes in comparison with more homogeneous communities at higher levels.
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