ELECTRONIC PUBLICATIONS: HabitatNet: A Global Biodiverrsity Monitoring Project

HabitatNet: A Global Biodiverrsity Monitoring Project

Field Report Number 6:

El Eden Ecological Reserve Quintana Roo, Mexico

August, 1999

Submitted By: Dan Bisaccio, HabitatNet Project Director



Further biological diversity monitoring activities for the 1999 field season included two HabitatNet field courses. The two field programs were lead by the HabitatNet Project Director (January, July) in which Quadrats 12, 17 (January) and Quadrats 22, 23 (July) were completed. The January field course participants were from Souhegan High School (Amherst, NH) and the July field course participants included teachers and college students (Souhegan High School graduates) from across the United States and Canada.

As of this report, fourteeen (14) 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 1,2,3,4,5) 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: (January, 1999 published as Trip Report # 5)

10 July - 18 July, 1999 HabitatNet Biodiversity Assessment Institute

We returned to a very green El Eden Ecological Reserve in July with secondary school teachers and college students to continue work at Biodiversity Plot EEF1. The rainy season had begun in earnest. During the week, Quadrats 22 and 23 were mapped and surveyed. Additionally, maximum / minimum temperature and humidity data were taken at Quadrat 1 and species accounts noted.

Trip Data:

January 1999

(1) Temperature & Humidity



28o C


25o C


(2) Canopy Density

Quadrat 12: 90%

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

Trip Data:

July 1999

(1) Temperature & Humidity



Maximum 31o C 93%
Minimum 29o C


(2) Canopy Density

Quadrat 22: 80%

Quadrat 23: 70%

(3) Species Accounts

A. Birds: 33 species were observed (field notes/ checklist D.Bisaccio).

B. A "moth" species was observed and photographed by D. Bisaccio on a night hike that mimiced a dragonfly. Photographs were submitted to: E.O.Wilson & P. DeVries (Harvard University) and A. Gomez-Pompa (University of California/ Riverside) for identification. It may be a new species.

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 - 2000 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 1999/ Winter 2000: Begin intial interpretation of quadrat data compiled thus far.

Resources Used in Compiling This Report

Bisaccio, Dan. "Field Report: El Eden Ecological Reserve: Numbers 1,2,3,4,5"

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

Appendix I (Attached)

1. Cumulative Data for all quadrats surveyed thus far:

Quadrats 1,2,3,4,6,7,8,9,11,16,19,21, 12, 17, 22, 23

2. Quadrat Maps and Surveys completed in 1999. (Q. 12,17,22,23)

Appendix II - El Eden Ecological Reserve / HabitatNet Participants 1999

Researcher Credits:

January 1999:

Susie Carlisle

Jessica Charpentier

Amy Verrault

Margaret Lambert

Emily Ginsberg

Scott Mohler

Christine Deysher

Ben Day

James Fasoli

Courtney Gould

Eric Boericke

Sarah Kayser

Lisa Ferrari

Brett Mayes


Bonnie Miller

Erik White


July 1999:

Leonora Isaak

Emily Ginsberg

Ben Day

Dawn Schultz

Sarah Kayser

Janet Drew

Bruce Larson

Brett Mayes

Margaret Lambert

Kathleen Bird

Courtney Gould


Jessica Charpentier

Erik White