• Biogeochemical Pathways

    We will continue to document how long-term biogeochemical dynamics (e.g., litterfall mass, stream chemistry, trace gas flux) respond to pulse and press disturbances. We will continue the Canopy TrimmingExperiment (field simulation of hurricane effects) and begin a Throughfall Manipulation Experiment, which will help us understand the effects of more extreme wetting and drying events on forest biogeochemistry.

  • Ecosystem Services

    Road building and urbanization at the base of the LM will reduce ecosystem services by simplifying the structure and biodiversity of aquatic ecosystems and reducing water quality; land use changes will fragment adjacent terrestrial plant communities, reducing biophysical connectivity and biodiversity. We predict the development of “urban syndromes” in linked aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems along the flanks of the LM and a reduction in critical ecosystem services.

  • Canopy Trimming Experiment

    The Canopy Trimming Experiment (CTE) is a long-term experiment designed for two purposes: 1) to decouple the effect of canopy disturbance (e.g., increasing light levels, temperature, moisture, etc.) from those of increased detrital inputs on rates of germination, growth, survival, detritus processing, nutrient cycling, soil conditions, and trophic structure, and 2) to increase the frequency of simulated hurricane effects above background levels to once every six to ten years.

  • Luquillo Forest Dynamics Plot

    The LFDP has a history of land use disturbance and also hurricane damage, disturbance types that interact and influence the community dynamics and species composition in the LFDP.

  • Multiple Dimensions of Biodiversity

    Biodiversity in multiple dimensions over multiple scales –Each of the multiple dimensions of biodiversity (taxonomic, functional, and hylogenetic) in terrestrial and aquatic systems responds differently to: 1) spatial gradients in environmental characteristics, 2) hurricane-mediated disturbance and drought, and 3) long-term change associated with climate and land use, and these responses are taxon-specific.

  • Urban-Rural Boundary

    Changing land use affect ecosystem services in northeast Puerto Rico

  • New Pathways

    Research at Luquillo LTER led to the discovery of DNRA and Feammox, novel pathways for nitrogen loss from terrestrial ecosystems

Mission statement: Explore spatio-temporal variation in ecosystem structure and function in dynamic tropical landscapes

The goal of the Luquillo Long-Term Ecological Research Program (LUQ) program is to determine how changing climate and disturbance regimes interact to drive ecological change in natural and human modified landscapes in tropical montane ecosystems. This enhanced mechanistic understanding will supply critical information to manage and conserve ecosystems of the Luquillo Experimental Forest as well as other montane forest ecosystems undergoing similar changes. Read More


Research Highlight

Four new species of lichens found in research sites along the elevation gradient outside LEF boundaries:In Jan 9th, 2014, an article highlighting the discovery of four new species of lichens found in research sites along the elevation gradient – at the lower elevation forests outside LEF boundaries was published. Joel Mercado, a UPR – Rio Piedras MS Graduate and IITF affiliate is the lead investigator of this study.See Newspaper Clip: http://luq.lternet.edu/downloads/el-nuevo-dia-9-de-enero-2014-pag-58-ciencia