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e s f home link - e s f college of environmental science and forestry

EFB Faculty, Students Spend Spring Break in Ecuador

Teaching and research projects are front and center

Four faculty members from the ESF Department of Environmental and Forest Biology (EFB) spent spring break in Ecuador, teaching and working on research projects.

Dr. Martin Dovciak and Dr. Donald Stewart took 20 students in the Tropical Ecology course to the Tiputini Biodiversity Station deep in the rainforests of the Yasuni Biosphere Reserve. The students learned about nature conservation, sustainable resource management and biological diversity during an intensive field study. Field explorations included diverse tropical ecosystems across the Andes, tropical dry forests, cloud forests, paramo, montane tropical forests, and lowland rainforest with aquatic whitewater river and lagoon ecosystems.

Their schedule included canoeing and hiking in the wilderness to observe giant river otters, river dolphins, arapaima, tapir or jaguar, as well as numerous species of monkeys, birds, insects and plants. The course also includes weekly on-campus sessions throughout the semester.

Dr. Brian Leydet traveled to southern Ecuador, specifically El Oro Province, working in parallel with ongoing disease surveillance efforts through the Institute for Global Health & Translational Science at SUNY Upstate Medical University. He provided tick- and tick-borne disease expertise in collaboration with Ecuadorian tick expert Sandra Enriquez, of the Central University of Ecuador, and guiding the research of a doctoral student from the Translational Biomedical Science Program at the University of Rochester who is investigating tick-borne diseases in Ecuador as well as the perception of tick-borne disease risk in Ecuadorian deaf communities.

Dr. Stephen Teale traveled to the Galapagos to conduct field research on an invasive fly that parasitizes Darwin's finches. He and his students and collaborators are working at the Charles Darwin Research Station on Santa Cruz Island to identify the chemical basis of odor cues that the parasite uses to locate bird nests, mates and food. These chemical attractants will then be used to help control the parasite and increase nestling survival.