Surveying reptiles and amphibians in Ecuador

During the summer of 2014 I carried out a herpetology conservation internship project at the Jama-Coaque Reserve. I lived for two months in the Bamboo House, field station ran by by Third Millennium Alliance, and with a colleague I surveyed the moist and the cloud forest of the Reserve during both day and night looking for reptiles and amphibians.

The Bamboo House, field station in the Jama Coaque Reserve.

My colleague Nick and I updated the Reserve’s herpetofaunal species list, with the  aim of better manage and conserve it. Interestingly, we  observed two Dendrophidion graciliverpa, never been seen  at the Reserve’s elevation.  We also carried out the  first  attempt  ever made to link herpetofaunal distribution to  biotic and  abiotic factors found throughout this Reserve.  Finally, with the aid of QGIS, we started looking at the  potential cloud forest  edge-effects on the species abundance  and diversity of the  Reserve’s herpetofauna.

Surveying in the cloud forest

Living at the Jama-Coaque Reserve (JCR) was an experience I will never forget. Being in such a remote place, completely submerged by the forest, is something that really changes your life. Although I had none of the amenities we normally have easy access to, e.g. hot water, electricity and phone reception, I was awoken every morning by troops of howler monkeys. I regularly encountered capuchins and humming birds, and the insect choirs at night were out of this world. Living at the JCR’s research station undoubtedly reset my concept of what is truly necessary in life, and what previously seemed necessary when living within a capitalistic society no longer does. Also, it strongly underlined what we give many for granted, which instead should be considered a luxury.

The report is  published in the Third Millennium Alliance website. You can find it here.

An interview was also published on Discover Conservation, if you want to check it out!


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