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¡SOBRE México!: Student Opportunities for Biological Research in Mexico

Response of a Tropical Dry Forest to Category 5 Hurricane Patricia

Collaborators: 
Dr. María Eugenia González del Castillo Aranda, UNAM; Dr. Katherine Renton, Jefe de la Estacion de Biologia, Chamela; Andres Garcia-Aguayo, Estacion de Biologia Chamela
Subject: 
Impact of hurricanes on tropical forests
Field of Research: 
Ecology, ecological disturbance
location: 
Estación de Biología, Chamela

Climate models predict tropical storms will grow stronger as global temperatures rise. Our team is investigating the response of a tropical dry forest (TDF) ecosystem to Patricia, a category 5 hurricane that struck coastal Jalisco, Mexico in October 2015.  By knocking down trees and snapping limbs, the storm’s strong winds altered the structure of the forest, which may in turn affect how animals use habitat.

 
American and Mexican scientists are using a variety of techniques (radiotelemetry; pitfall, flannel, and light traps) to monitor small vertebrates (amphibians, lizards, turtles) and some of their invertebrate parasites (ticks and kissing bugs) in the forests around Estación de Biología, Chamela, which received a direct hit from Hurricane Patricia in October, 2015. The research will yield a better understanding of the impact of woody debris deposited by the hurricane on microhabitat use and community structure of ectotherms that inhabit the forest. By working together to gather, analyze and interpret data, American and Mexican researchers are developing a strong spirit of cooperation and collaboration that will enhance the commitment and likelihood of future scientific and intercultural endeavors for both groups. 

 

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