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August 2016
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2016 Annual Meeting
Thank you to everyone who attended the 2016 annual meeting and a special thank you to all our presenters!
New Graduate Student Representative

      
          
Aaron Hogan (left) passing the official graduate student representative "torch" to Omar Gutiérrez del Arroyo. Thank you Aaron for all your hard work for the last several years, and good luck at FIU!
 
"Saludos! I’m Omar Gutiérrez del Arroyo, the new representative of the Luq-LTER grad students, and I’m currently a doctoral candidate in the Silver Lab at UC Berkeley, conducting research on the drought sensitivity of soil biogeochemistry in the Luquillo forests. A bit on my background: I was born and raised in Puerto Rico, participated in the El Verde REU as an undergrad at UPR-Río Piedras, and obtained my M.Sc. in Biology with Drs. Tana E. Wood and Ariel E. Lugo focusing on temporal patterns of soil respiration in a novel forest in the karst region of Arecibo.

As the new grad rep, I’d like to promote more opportunities for active engagement of incoming and current grad students with other members of the LTER community. Be it virtually, or during our annual meetings, graduate students could lead the organization of sessions/workshops and the presentation of audiovisual products (i.e., short videos, presentations) serving to share our ongoing research efforts, as well as to develop our evolving ideas and future plans. I hope to continue Aaron’s efforts to unite the Luquillo-LTER grad students (and other colleagues including post-docs, undergrads, techs) into a cohesive group that can represent our site well to reviewers and also provide support for making our lives easier in the field! Please feel free to contact me if any idea/suggestion comes up at ogutierrezdela@berkeley.edu.

Click above to watch and share the "Shrimp Inc." video on YouTube!
LUQ- LTER Schoolyard Updates:
8th Luquillo LTER Schoolyard Program Symposium and Schoolyard Students at LUQ LTER & CZO Annual Meetings
By Noelia Báez

We have completed another cycle of research on the ecology of forests by dedicated teachers and students in Puerto Rico. On May 17, 2016 the 8th Symposium for the Luquillo LTER Schoolyard Program was held at the Resources Center for Sciences and Engineering at the University of Puerto Rico in Río Piedras (UPRRP). The theme for this year’s symposium was “Documenting Changes in our Ecosystems.” Student and teacher representatives participated from the following public and private schools: Juan Ponce de León High School in Florida, Pablo Colón Berdecia High School in Barranquitas, Ernesto Ramos Antonini Specialized Art School in Yauco, Aurea Quilés Claudio High School in Guánica, Carmen L. Feliciano Middle School in Río Grande, Jose E.  Aponte de la Torre in Carolina, Ana D. Flores High School in Fajardo, Capitán Correa High School in Hatillo, María T Delgado de Marcano middle School in San Lorenzo, and Rafael N. Coca Middle School in Luquillo. Additional guests and supporting staff included Dr. Omar Pérez, professor of Biology at UPRRP, Dr. Angel Torres, UPRRP professor of Environmental Sciences and director of the Corporación para la Sustentabilidad Ambiental COSUAM, Christopher Nytch, doctoral candidate in Environmental Sciences at UPRRP, Andrew McFadden, LTER information technology specialist, Erika Concepción, education coordinator for the UPRRP Environmental Sciences Department, and Mayrelis Narváez, Education Consultant for the Forward Learning educational consulting company.

                  

This year's symposium was divided into two sessions. In the morning, there was a virtual symposium between the Puerto Rico Schools and several New Mexico schools that participate in the Sevilleta LTER Schoolyard Program. Kristen Weil, the educator coordinator for the Bosque Ecosystem Monitoring Program (BEMP), was the organizer and the moderator from New Mexico.. During this exchange, our students and teachers had the opportunity to interact and share their research findings with peers from the Escuela del Bosque, La Academia La Esperanza, and Academia de Albuquerque. The research topics presented from both Puerto Rico and New Mexico included a comparative analysis of soil characterization between El Yunque and La Torrecilla forests, anthropogenic effects on the water quality of the Mameyes River, ecological changes in the Guánica Dry Forest tree community during the period 2010 to 2016, an assessment of the presence of heavy metals and PCBs in Guánica Bay, benthic macroinvertebrates as bioindicators of healthy aquatic ecosystems, the impact of trail installation on lizard populations in the Río Grande riparian forest, people’s perception of snakes before and after an educational presentation, students' understanding of climate change and its impact on local species, Chytrid fungus monitoring on local amphibian populations, bear hair snares and bear presence in Albuquerque, and a description of monitoring work at an LTER site in the Río Grande riparian forest in Albuquerque.

During the afternoon session, the Puerto Rico students presented their Data Jam project exhibitions. This was the first year we’ve held a Luquillo LTER Schoolyard Data Jam. Our students and teachers were challenged to work with Luquillo LTER, Luquillo CZO and USGS data collected during the 1994 and 2015 droughts. Five schools participated in the data jam and developed projects related to how drought contributes to the propagation of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, a comparative study of drought effects in the Mamayes river stream flow during 1994 and 2015, the relationship between daily rainfall at El Verde and the levels of the Loíza Reservoir during the 1994 and 2015 rainy and drought seasons, and a comparative study between the cumulative rainfall at El Verde during 1994 and 2015. Included in the Data Jam model is a creative component where students have to share their project in a non-traditional way, to develop communication skills and reach a broader audience. The students showed tremendous ability with their creative products, which included a décima (musical poetry) about El Yunque, a global warming rap, a Río Mameyes low stream flow model, a TV news hour skit about rainfall data at El Verde, and an informative oral presentation relating the drought data with the Zika, Dengue and Chikungunya viruses. Even science teacher Elliot López got inspired and performed a rap about saving water using the Oppa Gangnam Style rhythmic song as background music. 

             

During the week of June 6 -10, the Schoolyard students had the opportunity to present their Data Jam projects at the Luquillo LTER and CZO Annual Meeting poster sessions, where they were exposed to a professional audience that was interested in learning about the development of the students' research questions, and their interpretation of the data. The students had the chance to meet one on one with some of the scientists whose data were used in the Data Jam activities, and received advice from them.  It was a rich learning experience for all involved, and we are eager to continue next year.

Through the 2016 Symposium and the LUQ LTER and CZO Meetings efforts our students demonstrated not only their research findings, but also their commitment to the development of long-term research in the high school arena. Their resounding enthusiasm was apparent to all who were present.  We offer special thanks to the teachers, parents, and LUQ-LTER collaborators who served as guides in the learning process throughout the academic year.

                  
Job Opportunity: Tropical Rainforest Ecologist with Cirad
Permanent Position as Tropical Rainforest Research Ecologist with the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (Cirad)
Location: Kourou, French Guiana following 3-6 month in France; Paracou field station
 
The French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (Cirad) is recruiting a permanent-position tropical rainforest research ecologist, in charge of the scientific management of the Paracou station. This station is constituted of a long-term disturbance experiment which, for the past 30 years, has investigated and modelled the impact of logging on the goods and services produced by tropical rainforest ecosystems, in a context of climate change. The station is integrated into international renewed scientific networks. 
 
The focus of the research will be the consequences of global change on the ecosystem processes and services provided by tropical rainforests. Integrated into the Ecology of the Forests of French Guiana UMR (Joint Research Unit), the researcher will:
*Quantify and model the evolution over time and space of key ecosystem services during forest rotations so as to identify optimal trajectories combining production of goods with maintenance of key environmental services in the Amazon; 
*Propose improvements in forestry practices and pre- and post-logging diagnostic tools with a view to the diversification of harvested species and ecological intensification through forestry; 
*Test the demographic vulnerability of the Amazon's major commercial species in relation to climatic stress to integrate the climate issue into forest management strategies.
 
The researcher will coordinate the research team on "ecosystem processes and services", define the Paracou Station's scientific policy within the TmFO network and international networks, manage and enhance the databases produced. He/she will coordinate the team in charge of the station (engineers and technicians, approximately 10 people).
 
Qualifications include a PhD in environmental science, ecological science or forestry science. Skills needed in community ecology in tropical rainforests, environmental science modeling, data analysis, forestry science, and tropical forestry. Fluent in English, French and/or Portuguese desirable. Experience with setting up scientific projects and funding research, management of a technical team and coordination of a research group, supervision of doctoral and other students.
 
Applications due by August 21. For more information about this position and to apply, visit the cirad website and contact Bruno Hérault bruno.herault@ecofog.gf
 
Publications
 
Farjalla, V. F., González, A. L., Céréghino, R., Dézerald, O., Marino, N. A.
     C., Piccoli, G. C. O., Richardson, B. A., Richardson, M. J., Romero, G.
     Q. and Srivastava, D. S. (2016), Terrestrial support of aquatic food
     webs depends on light inputs: a geographically-replicated test using
     tank bromeliads. Ecology. Accepted Author Manuscript.
     doi:10.1002/ecy.1432
Click here to access this article
 
Larsen, M.C., 2016, Contemporary human uses of tropical forested
     watersheds and riparian corridors: Ecosystem services and hazard
     mitigation, with examples from Panama, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela:
     Quaternary International.
Click here to access this article

Zalamea, M., González, G., and D. Jean Lodge.  2016.  Physical, chemical,
     and biological properties of soil under decaying wood in a tropical
     wet forest in Puerto Rico.  Forest 7(8), 168; doi:10.3390/f7080168
Click here to access this article
Copyright © 2016 El Verde Field Station, All rights reserved.


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