Amazon Giant, Yasuni National Park, Ecuador

Amazon Giant, Yasuni National Park, Ecuador
There’s an old Cree Indian prophecy that goes "Only after the last tree has been cut down... Only after the last river has been poisoned… Only after the last fish has been caught, only then will you find that money cannot be eaten." I find these words clever yet profoundly insightful, and more meaningful today than ever. Across the globe, vital ecosystems are disappearing at an alarming rate, a rate matched only by the speed with which the species inhabiting those systems are falling to extinction. This is particularly true in the Neotropics, where an extraordinary diversity of plants and animals are struggling with the catastrophic consequences of widespread deforestation and pollution. Many of the forests’ secrets elude ecologists, secrets whose answers will be essential if we are to protect the awesome biodiversity they contain. I study Neotropical butterfly ecology, with the hope that I may contribute to a better understanding of these wonderful creatures, and help conserve them in an uncertain future. Follow me during my work and adventures throughout Latin America here!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Back from the Field

I'm back now in Gainesville, after what has been my most unsuccessful trip to date, at least in terms of the number of butterflies I've collected. As I mentioned in my previous post, my fish bait didn't work very well in attracting butterflies, although it has worked wondrously in Ecuador and to a lesser degree in Panama. While it's disappointing to not collect much, I'm left instead with lots of interesting questions. Why a bait should work well in one area but not another, even among the same species, is very mysterious. I plan to explore this topic in greater detail in the months to follow... until then Merry Christmas!

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