HabitatNet: A Global Biodiversity Monitoring Project.

Field Project: El Edén Ecological Reserve, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Dan Bisaccio

Souhegan High School
Science Coordinator
PO Box 1152
Amherst NH 03031 USA
tel: (603) 673-9940
fax: (603) 673-0318

Beginning in October, 1995, two student research teams were organized and lead by the HabitatNet Project Director in an educational field research opportunity to the El Edén Ecological Reserve located 38 kilometers west of Cancun in Quintana Roo, Mexico.

The first team was composed of high school students (known as the Souhegan High School BioSwat Team) who arrived a few days after Hurricane Roxanne crossed the Yucatan in October, 1995. The El Edén Ecological Reserve was inundated with consequent hurricane rains that resulted in 0.2 - 1.2 meters of standing water flooding the forest.

The BioSwat Team's initial work was to assess the habitat types found at the reserve, begin taxonomic identification of species found in those habitats, and identify migratory birds using the reserve habitat in October. The later study was under the auspices and direction of Dr. Tom Will, an ornithologist at CIES in Chiapas, Mexico.

The second team was composed of professional educators interested in learning field methodology while conducting biodiversity field research. Their work included establishing two permanent biodiversity monitoring plots (using HabitatNet's protocol) in two of the three habitat types found in the reserve as well as developing independent research projects investigating interspecies interactions within the permanent plots.

Additionally, Dr. Tom Will joined the group once again for some follow-up work establishing baseline data on resident bird species. This work was conducted during July, 1996. HabitatNet's ongoing goal is to continue to develop permanent biological diversity monitoring quadrant's using both high school students and teachers as field researchers.

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