|LUQ Research Categories||Project Title||Project Description or Abstract||Investigators|
|Research in Dry Scrub Forest Plot of Guánica State Forest||
The purpose of this investigation is to establish a database as part of a long-term ecological research at the dry scrub forest plot in the Guánica State Forest of Puerto Rico. This investigation started in 2009 as part of the Luquillo LTER Schoolyard Program.
|Glenda L. Almodovar Morales|
|Research in a secondary forest localized in the kart zone in the municipality of Florida, Puerto Rico||
In 1999, a science teacher of the Juan Ponce de Leon High School in Florida-Puerto Rico, Elliot Lopez, and some students, establish a research area in a secondary forest localized in the kart zone in the municipality of Florida, with the assistance of the International Institute of Tropical Forestry. This zone has a high diversity of species. The research area (2000 m²), denominated Mogote Cuba, provides an idyllic area to develop special studies since it is the habitat of some species that are not common in other places like Coccoloba pubescens. Other trees species present are Dendropanax arboreus, Alchornea latifolia, Persea americana, Ceiba pentandra , Adira inermis, Calophyllum calaba, Zanthoxylum martinicense, Nectandra coriacea,Guarea trichiloides, Trichillia pallida and Pimenta racemosa. The Puertorrican giant green lizard (Anolis cuvieri) is one of the reptiles present in that forest.
|Research in the secondary forest La Torrecilla, Barranquitas 2||
During the years of 1986 and 1987, we selected a private area in the Forest “La Torrecilla”, located at the Barrio Barranquitas, for the development of a long-term study with the help of the International Institute for Tropical Forestry. Our study area is located at the Barrio Barrancas of Barranquitas at 3,093 feet above sea level. The area has been classified as a secondary forest in the past because it was used for agriculture since the XIX Century until 1940, to cultivate coffee. In our forest, one of our main water source originates: The Manatí River. The Forest is the lung which efficiently purifies our air.
|Research in the Naranjito Secondary Forest||
A secondary forest localized in the Anones Ward in a coffee plantation abandoned in the 1950’s in whose borderline is with the ground of the Francisco Morales High School of Naranjito. This private property, which consists of about 48 acres, belongs to Francisco Ortega Cosme. Today part of the farm is dedicated to the commercial cultivation of plantain. The good relations between the Ortega Cosme family with the high school and the community contribute to share part of the farm to develop diverse projects that deals about environmental health and conservation education.
Between the special interest that represent the research area is vecinity of it to the school and to the urban zone of the town, the presence of a ravine and the fact that the dominant specie, Spathodea campanulata, is invasive specie.
In 1999, two science professors of the Francisco Morales High School, Aurea Berríos Sáez and Hilca Nieves Ríos, with the assistance of the International Institute of Tropical Dorestry established two research areas (2500 m2 each one) in which the dominants species are Spathodea campanulata and Guarea guidonia.
|Research in the secondary forest La Torrecilla Barranquitas 1||
During the years of 1986 and 1987, we selected a private area in the Forest “La Torrecilla”, located at the Barrio Barranquitas, for the development of a long-term study with the help of the International Institute for Tropical Forestry.
|Research in Luquillo LTER Schoolyard project||
Outreach education coordinator
|Animal population dynamics||Anole Population Dynamics||
The population activity, abundance, density, and spatial distribution of anoline lizards (genus Anolis) were investigated in tabonuco rain forest of the Luquillo Mountains, Puerto Rico. A summary of the aspects of anole biology relevant to food web structure and organization in tabonuco forest were developed from these studies. The anole activity in different habitats was studied in relation to the changes in canopy structure before and after Hurricane Hugo (September 1989). The drastic reduction in canopy structure immediately following the hurricane confined anole activity to the lower few meters of the forest. Anolis stratulus, a canopy species, apparently responded to changes in microclimate. Relative abundance estimates based on vertical transect surveys were A. stratulus (82%), A. gundlachi (11%), and A. evermanni (7%). Vertical surveys documented that A. stratulus was the most abundant anole species in the forest and inhabited the canopy at estimated population densities of 25,870~7005 (dry season) and 21,333~6638 (wet season) individuals/ha. Field studies demonstrated the importance of small diameter perches in the structural habitat of this species. Individual A. stratulus occupy small, ellipsoidal home ranges and/or territories (males only) with a mean diameter of 6.2 ñ 1.2 m layered within the 10-14 m thick canopy. This three-dimensional habitat partitioning has not previously been noted for a vertebrate species and may account for the ability of A. stratulus to reach extremely high population densities. On Caribbean islands where there are no large animals such as those found in mainland ecosystems (e.g., tapirs, jaguars), anoles constitute a substantial portion of the total animal biomass. Their abundance, widespread ecological distribution, and functional role as higher order consumers make them important components of insular animal communities throughout the Caribbean. Recent studies have demonstrated their importance in structuring food webs on Caribbean islands (Schoener and Toft 1983; Schoener and Spiller 1987), and Reagan (1986) described the role of anoles as important consumers in the food web of tabonuco forest at El Verde.
|Animal population dynamics||Earthworm Population Dynamics||
Plant communities may impose strong control on soil fauna populations. We compared and examined patterns of earthworm abundance, species composition, and distribution pattern of earthworms in tree plantations and secondary forests of Puerto Rico. Our results indicate that variation in plant species composition and soil properties between plant communities can trigger differences in earthworm abundance and distribution pattern within a tropical wet forest.
|Animal population dynamics||Frog population dynamics||
El Verde Station, located in the tabonuco forest zone on the NW side of the Luquillo Experimental Forest (LEF), has hosted numerous scientific efforts since the 1960s. Thus, a great deal of information exists concerning anuran populations at the site over the past 30 years. Although past surveys did not use consistent techniques, they clearly document the general status of the anuran community of the area. I began working at El Verde in the 1970s and have collected data on the anuran community primarily in the 1980s and 1990s. Until recently, these surveys also lacked a consistent sampling protocol, although they clearly document declines in species richness in comparison to earlier records.
Most Puerto Rican Eleutherodactylus are terrestrial frogs that breed for prolonged periods of time in more or less continuous habitat. Because their life cycle lacks a free living larvae stage, reproductive behavior is not tied to bodies of water and they do not have the large aggregations typical of many aquatic breeders. For these reasons, assessing their population status requires examining fairly large areas of habitat. I began systematically sampling the anuran community on a 12 ha grid at the Bisley watersheds in 1989 and a second 16 ha grid at El Verde in 1993. These efforts have provided a comprehensive data set that can be used to evaluate future changes in the anuran community in this forest.
|Lawrence L. Woolbright|
|Animal population dynamics||Diatom Population Dynamics||
Monthly collections of benthic diatoms are made at four sites in the Rio Mameyes of northeastern Puerto Rico. The sites range from an unpolluted closed canopy headwater stream within the National Forest, to a small, highly polluted coastal plain tributary that drains a golf course and surrounding suburban development. Diatoms are collected by cleaning a standardized area of randomly selected rocks from each site. The identification of the composition and abundance of diatoms in each site will be used to identify species and communities that reflect water quality and community response to floods, low flows, and water pollution.