Nature Reserve & Biological Station
Biodiversity Surveys & Inventories
Apart from the well-researched avifauna, the diversity of most other taxonomic groups present at the nature reserve Un poco del Chocó has not yet been studied in detail. Therefore the inventory of the existing animal and plant species is of great interest. In the past years we have already hosted independent research projects on lepidopterans, fungi, snails and plants, yet so much more is out there to explore. One of our ongoing research projects is the inventory of lepidopterans which we are monitoring with bait traps. Some of the butterflies can be identified using the available literature. However it is often required to collect specimens and consult with a specialist. A collaboration with the Institute for Biodiversity in Quito facilitates species identification.
To enable future visitors of the reserve to easier identify certain species, we are compling species lists and field guides to certain animal or plant families. We have also started a project on iNaturalist to collect the many casual observations of wildlife in the reserve.
Students or researchers interested in developing an inventory study in the reserve are welcome!!
For our butterfly monitoring we use bait traps with different types of baits to attract butterflies.
So far we have identified around 120 different species of butterflies in the reserve.
As well as many other insects most lepidopterans can only be identified in their adult stages. Therefore lepidopteran larvaes and pupaes need to be collected and observed at the field station.
The caterpillars will be raised in cages until their adult stage.
Once the butterflies hatch, they can be identified or collected for identification through a specialist.
Apart from the butterflies all other taxonomic groups of insects still need to be studied.
We also have not yet studied the diversity of amphibians in the reserve.
Apart from casual records we also have not yet studied the diversity of reptiles.
A two-months survey found over 100 different fungi (mushrooms) species, but only 63 could be identifed. The other specimen are still awaiting identification through specialist of the fungario in Quito.
For our inventory on hummingbird-pollinated flowers, we collect plant samples which are then identified by a botanist from the herbarium in Quito.
Camera Trap Project
The goal of this longterm-monitoring project is to study mammals and ground birds in different parts of the reserve and its surroundings with camera traps. We are using this non-invasive method to do an inventory of species, study habitat use and activity patterns, and compare communities in different land uses. Besides numerous small to medium-sized rodents and ground birds, regular sightings on our camera footage are agutis, pacas, armadillos, opossums, tayras and tamanduas. Plus, we have been able to record the presence of peccaries, grison, two different deer species, and also carnivores like ocelots, jaguarundis, and pumas.