EpIG‐DB: A database of vascular epiphyte assemblages in the Neotropics

Glenda Mendieta‐Leiva, Flavio N. Ramos, João P.C. Elias, Gerhard Zotz, Margoth Acuña‐Tarazona, Francine Seehaber Alvim, Daniel E.F. Barbosa, Geicilaine A. Basílio, SVEN BATKE, Ana María Benavides, Christopher T. Blum, Carlos R. Boelter, Pedro H.S. Brancalion, María Judith Carmona, Luciana P. Carvalho, Edilia de la Rosa‐Manzano, Helena J.R. Einzmann, Manuel Fernández, Samyra G. Furtado, André L. de GasperValeria Guzmán‐Jacob, Peter Hietz, Mariana V. Irume, Derio Antonio Jiménez‐López, Michael Kessler , Holger Kreft , Thorsten Krömer, Giesta Maria O. Machado, Nayely Martínez‐Meléndez, Camila Nardy, Rodolfo de Paula Oliveira, Ana Clara A. Pereira, Luis Pillaca, Adriano C. Quaresma, Calixto Rodríguez Quiel, Edier Soto Medina, Amanda Taylor, Michael S. Vega, Katrin Wagner, Márcio S. Werneck, Florian A. Werner, Jan H.D. Wolf, Charles E. Zartman, Daniel Zuleta, Borja Jímenez‐Alfaro

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18 Citations (Scopus)
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Vascular epiphytes are a diverse and conspicuous component of biodiversity in tropical and subtropical forests. Yet, the patterns and drivers of epiphyte assemblages are poorly studied in comparison with soil-rooted plants. Current knowledge about diversity patterns of epiphytes mainly stems from local studies or floristic inventories, but this information has not yet been integrated to allow a better understanding of large-scale distribution patterns. EpIG-DB, the first database on epiphyte assemblages at the continental scale, resulted from an exhaustive compilation of published and unpublished inventory data from the Neotropics. The current version of EpIG-DB consists of 463,196 individual epiphytes from 3,005 species, which were collected from a total of 18,148 relevés (host trees and ‘understory’ plots). EpIG-DB reports the occurrence of ‘true’ epiphytes, hemiepiphytes and nomadic vines, including information on their cover, abundance, frequency and biomass. Most records (97%) correspond to sampled host trees, 76% of them aggregated in forest plots. The data is stored in a TURBOVEG database using the most up-to-date checklist of vascular epiphytes. A total of 18 additional fields were created for the standardization of associated data commonly used in epiphyte ecology (e.g. by considering different sampling methods). EpIG-DB currently covers six major biomes across the whole latitudinal range of epiphytes in the Neotropics but welcomes data globally. This novel database provides, for the first time, unique biodiversity data on epiphytes for the Neotropics and unified guidelines for future collection of epiphyte data. EpIG-DB will allow exploration of new ways to study the community ecology and biogeography of vascular epiphytes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)518-528
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Vegetation Science
Issue number3
Early online date14 Feb 2020
Publication statusPublished - 5 Apr 2020


  • Neotropics
  • biodiversity
  • community ecology
  • database
  • forest plot
  • hemiepiphytes
  • nomadic vines
  • taxonomic diversity
  • vascular epiphytes
  • vegetation relevé


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