Research projects

The main research goal of the laboratory is to advance our understanding of tropical stream ecosystems and the organisms inhabiting them. The following are our major research projects:

Stream ecology in the Luquillo Mountains, Puerto Rico

Streams in Puerto Rico are short and steep, dominated by shrimp and fish species with diadromous life cycles.  In these ecosystems, aquatic insects play important roles processing leaf litter, consuming periphyton, and making energy available to upper trophic levels. 



Our major research goal is to understand the role insects play in stream ecosystem processes.

Resources:
- Fish diversity in Puerto Rico (Enlace)

Our research is based at El Verde Field Station and is part of the Luquillo LTER program.

Taxonomy and biodiversity of aquatic insects

One of the main limitations to advance our understanding of tropical stream ecosystems is our lack of information on the diversity and taxonomy of aquatic organisms.  

Our major research goal is to advance our knowledge of tropical aquatic insects by creating tools that help us identify them and assess their diversity in tropical streams.

Resources:
- Guía fotográfica de macroinvertebrados de Puerto Rico (Enlace)

- Aquatic insect families of Puerto Rico (Enlace)

- FFG - Familias de insectos acuáticos y grupos funcionales de América Latina (Enlace)

- Blog sobre náyades de Odonata Neotropicales (Enlace) 
    
 
Urban stream ecosystem structure and function in Puerto Rico 

Urbanization is rapidly increasing in tropical regions.  It is expected that by 2030 all tropical regions will have more urban than rural inhabitants. Stream degradation is large and conspicuous but is poorly understood in the tropics. Scientists and managers in tropical regions often must rely on information from non-tropical regions for guidance. 

Our major research goal is to understand how urbanization impacts stream ecosystems in Puerto Rico.

Our research program is conducted within the framework of the ULTRA program and also the Luquillo LTER program.

Biomonitoreo de ecosistemas acuáticos


El desarrollo de herramientas para la evaluación de los impactos antropogénicos sobre los ríos es otra de las tareas de nuestro laboratorio.  La condición de los ríos puede ser evaluada de diversas forma, algunas complementarias. Por ello, hemos desarrollado y adaptado herramientas para Puerto Rico usando macroinvertebrados, la condición 
física del cauce, e incluso las arañas ribereñas.

Nuestro objetivo es desarrollar y compartir herramientas que ayuden a evaluar la condición de los ecosistemas de río.


Recursos:
Evaluación de impactos al cauce de los ríos (documento en pdf) 
Protocolo de evaluación visual de quebradas para Puerto Rico

Evaluación con macro-invertebrados



Biodiversidad y función de ecosistemas riparios
en un paisaje fragmentado, México


La deforestación sigue siendo uno de los mayores problemas de conservación en los trópicos.  El bosque mesofilo de montaña es uno de los mas diversos de México.  Sin embargo, esta altamente fraccionado y su función amenazada.
 
Nuestro principal objetivo es entender el valor que tiene la zona ribereña en mantener la función y la diversidad de los arroyos del bosque mesófilo de montaña en México.

El estudio es una colaboración con el INECOL, Veracruz, México.
Emergent landscape patterns in stream ecosystem processes resulting from groundwater/surface water interactions in Costa Rica

In streams draining the Caribbean lowlands of Costa Rica we are studying how inputs of solute-rich groundwater associated with the volcanic landscape are affecting stream ecosystem function.  Solute-rich streams have interesting characteristics: they are nutrient rich, have a high buffering capacity against changes in pH, and have high microbial activity.  For further information on our research program visit the STREAMS project web site.

Our major research goal is to understand how inputs of solute-rich groundwater modify stream ecosystems draining this tropical landscape.

The STREAMS project is based at La Selva Biological Station, part of the Organization for Tropical Studies.