Research, Teach and Learn in the Exuberance of the Yasuní Natural Park

Researchers and students from ICTA and the UAB participate in the Yasuní Scientific Expedition, a unique experience to study biodiversity, global change and ethnoecology this summer in the equatorial Amazon, one of the most biodiverse places on Earth.

The Yasuní Scientific Expedition has set the objective of gathering information for the inventory of the biological wealth of this natural park. The expedition lasts two months and in the long term also aims to study the effects of climate change on the biodiversity of the region.

The ICTA-UAB team traveling to Ecuador is made up of researchers and lecturers Martí Boada, pluridisciplinary research consultant and head of the university group. “The expedition is a unique initiative, taking place in a truly exceptional scenario and with very ambitious objectives in broadening our knowledge on biodiversity”, say Yasuní researchers in an email.

Constructing an Ecotheque in the National Park

The team of lecturers will be mainly in charge of one of the training aspects of the course, focused on biodiversity and global climate change, the knowledge of the environment and ethnoecology. A total of five seminars and five workshops will be offered on knowledge of the environment and the usage of its resources. These will allow to construct an ecotheque and prepare teaching materials to be used throughout the scientific stay at the park.

“The experience represents teaching and disseminating knowledge, something we love doing, but it also represents a chance to be modest and eager learners”, the lecturers say. “Here we are surrounded by nature and everything is new to us, so we learn a lot from the researchers at the park centre, but also from the indigenous communities: we give and receive, explain and listen, teach and learn. And we enjoy our surroundings and the new experiences.”

The expedition will help researchers and team members establish ties and share future research and teaching tasks, and give way to student exchanges.

A Unique Experience in Search of a Future

The younger team members take part in several educational and research activities related to environmental awareness, coming in contact with local ethnicities, botany, mastozoology and ornithology. Each area has a different purpose. For example, taking a census and putting rings on the birds in ornithology or following the tracks of mammals in mastozoology.

  • Projects:
  1. Toucan Phenology: The purpose of this project was to collect data in order to statistically determine the biodiversity of toucan species that are in the Yasuní National Park.
  2. Creation of an Amphibian and Reptile Identification Guide for Yasuní National Park: This project consisted of sampling and photographing most of the amphibian and reptile community present in Yasuní National Park.
  3. Bioindicators of Global Change: This project consisted of the creation of an experimental design. Fifteen species of the flora present in the study area were selected to track and see changes and trends related to Global Change in the future.

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