ELECTRONIC PUBLICATIONS: HabitatNet: A Global Biodiverrsity Monitoring Project

HabitatNet: A Global Biodiverrsity Monitoring Project

Field Report Number 5:

El Eden Ecological Reserve Quintana Roo, Mexico

January, 1999

Submitted By: Dan Bisaccio, HabitatNet Project Director


Further biological diversity monitoring activities for the 1999 field season include two HabitatNet field courses. As of this report, one of the two field courses has been completed (Janaury 14 - 19,1999). The January field course participants were from Souhegan High School (Amherst, NH) and the July 10-17, 1999 field course participants includes teachers, college students (Souhegan High School graduates), and a videographer who also attended the Janaury, 1999 field course.

As of this report, thirteen (13) of the twenty-five (25) quadrats are completed within the hectare biodiversity plot (known as EEF1). Three additional quadrats (quadrats 13,19,25) are nearing completion.

Reference Note:

Past HabitatNet Field Reports (Numbers 1,2,3,4) describe the habitat types, protocols used in this biodiversity monitoring project, quadrat data, and species accounts. Copies of all reports are on file at the El Eden Ecological Reserve (Quintana Roo,MX), the Smithsonian Institute/ Man & Biosphere Program (Washington, D.C.), and with the Project Director at Souhegan High School (Amherst, NH).

Trip Reports:

14 - 19 Janauary,1999 SHS BioSwat Team


This was the first HabitatNet biodiversity program conducted during Janaury. Overall, El Eden Ecological Reserve was relatively wet and green with cool temperatures. Souhegan High School students ("BioSwat Team") conducted SI/MAB measurements in EEF1 during the five days. Quadrats 12 and 17 were surveyed and mapped (Appendix) and cumulative data on tree species in all thirteen (13) completed quadrats was calculated. Additionally, maximum / minimum temperature and humidity data were collected, as on previous trips, in Quadrat 1 (EEF1) at the "Jaguar Hut".

Concurrently, species observed, identified, and verified by the HabitatNet project director were noted and listed in this report. Additionally, several students conducted independent field projects with topics including: bat behavior, nature photography, and written habitat descriptions.

Trip Data:

Janaury 1999

(1) Temperature & Humidity



27o C


25o C



(2) Canopy Density

Quadrat 12: 90%

Quadrat 17: 90% (evidence of wind thrown trees and early successional trees)

(3) Species Recorded (Attached)

Special Interest Bird Species Observed:
Collared Aracari Petroglossus torquatus (EEF1 Biodiversity Plot; Q.12)
Keel-Billed Toucan Ramphastos sulfuratus (2 were observes at field station)
Pygmy Kingfisher Chloroceryle aenae (pond by main field station)
OcellatedTurkey Agriocharis ocellata (forest)
Black Headed Trogon Trogon melanocephalus (forest and tintal)
Hooded Oriole Icterus cucullatus (near field station and tintal)
Gray Necked Wood-Rail Araimides cajanea (tintal edge/ near main field station)
Ferrugious Pygmy Owl Glaucidium brasilianum (tintal / near EESv1)*
Yucatan Nightjar Caprimulgus badius (forest trail / edge near EEF1)*
American Woodcock Scolopax minor (forest trail / edge near wetlands)*

* night walks

A total of 35 bird species were observed (checklist / field notes attached).

Concluding Remarks

"If the land mechanism as a whole is good, then every part of it is good, whether we understand it or not. If the biota, in the course of eons, has built something we like but do not understand, then who but a fool would discard seemingly useless parts? To keep every cog and wheel is the first precaution of intelligent tinkering."


Certainly, this report is just a beginning. Much more work needs to be done and will be done over the next several years. Basic taxonomic work complimented with continuing investigations of species interactions will allow us to more fully understand and appreciate the wisdom of Aldo Leopold.

Organismic adaptation and speciation can not keep pace with the accelerating extinction rate caused by our species ignorance. In addition to the basic research and investigations afforded by this project, a primary focus of HabitatNet is to reacquaint students and teachers with nature so that we may better understand our fundamental role and responsibility in safeguarding global biological diversity.

The short term goals for 1999 include:

(1) Continue quadrat tree surveys in the hectare biodiversity plot known as EEF1.

(2) Develop a botanical reference collection at El Eden (voucher specimens).

(3) Under the auspices of Marco Lazcano-Barrero, develop a voucher specimen collection of both invertebrate and vertebrates found within the biodiversity plot.

(4) Fall / Winter 1999: Begin intial interpretation of quadrat data compiled thus far.

Resources Used in Compiling This Report

Bisaccio, Dan. "Field Report: El Eden Ecological Reserve: Numbers 1,2,3"

El Eden Website: University of California http://www.ucr.edu/pril/peten/images/el_eden/Home.html

Emmons. Neotropical Rainforest Mammals. University of Chicago Press: Chicago, IL

Gentry. A Field Guide To The Families and Genera of Woody Plants of Northwest South America. Conservation International: Washington, D.C.

Lazcano-Barrero. Marco. Identification of snake species from discarded skin; April,1998

Lee, Julian. The Amphibians and Reptiles of The Yucatan Peninsula, Cornell Uiversity Press, 1996

Smithsonian Institute's MAB Digest # 11 , Technical Report on conducting biodiversity monitoring research. Francisco Dallmeier, editor.

Smithsonian Institute: MABDATA BioMon Software: DOS program for managing data compiled at biodiveristy sites; Smithsonian Institute (SI/MAB), 1992

Will, Tom. "Checklist To Birds of The Yucatan, Mexico", Gettysburg University, PA1997

Special Notes of Appreciation:

"HabitatNet" extends a special thank you to Marco Lazcano-Barrero (Director General; El Eden Ecological Reserve) and his staff for all of their ongoing effort and support of this project. ¡Muchas gracias!

This year we are most fortunate to have Ben Day, videographer, join our HabitatNet adventures! His talent and genius allow those who are geographically removed from El Eden Ecological Reserve an opportunity to experience it visually.

It was my great pleasure to have my colleague and friend, Susie Carlisle, co-lead the Janaury "BioSwatters". Thank you Susie for all of your efforts and literary moments!

Finally, it would be impossible to conduct these rapid biological assessment projects without the intrepid researchers from Souhegan High School. Their humor, intelligence, and spirit for adventure gets the job done! Thank you!

Fredric Boericke Courtney Gould Amy Verreault
Jessica Charpentier Sarah Kayser Erik White
Christy Deysher Margaret Lambert * Susie Carlisle; Co-Leader
James Fasoli Brett Mayes * Ben Day; Videographer
Lisa Ferrari Bonnie Miller  
Emily Ginsberg Scott Mohler  

Appendix I (Attached)

1. Cumulative Tree Data for all quadrats surveyed thus far.

2. Quadrat Maps and Surveys completed in 1999.

Appendix II - El Eden Ecological Reserve / HabitatNet Participants 1999