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Publication Information

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Title: Avian studies and research opportunities in the Luquillo Experimental Forest: a tropical rain forest in Puerto Rico

Author: Wunderle, Jr, Joseph Jr.; Arendt, Wayne J.;

Date: 2011

Source: Forest Ecology and Management. 262: 33-48

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: The Luquillo Experimental Forest (LEF) located on the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico has a rich history of ecological research, including a variety of avian studies, and is one of the most active ecological research sites in the Neotropics. The LEF spans an elevational range from 100 to 1075mover which five life zones and four forest types are found in a warm, humid subtropical climate. A total of 23 bird species breeds here and another 76 species, mostly migrants, are known to occur. The food web of the forest in the lower elevations is especially well studied, which allows an assessment of the role of birds in the food web. The LEF is noted for its high densities of Eleutherodactylus frogs and Anolis lizards, which may depress insect densities thereby contributing to the low species richness and densities of most insectivorous birds. The signature species of the forest is the endangered Puerto Rican Parrot (Amazona vittata) that has been the focus of intensive long-term research and recovery efforts, which have spawned research on associated species, including long-term studies on the Pearly-eyed Thrasher (Margarops fuscatus) and botfly (Philornis spp.) ectoparasitism. Given the frequency of hurricane disturbance to the LEF and studies providing baseline for comparisons, research has made major contributions to an understanding of the effects of hurricanes on forest ecosystems including bird populations and their resources. We summarize these and other studies from the LEF to characterize the avifauna and its environment while noting studies with management implications and identify opportunities for future ornithological studies.

Keywords: Birds, El Yunque National Forest, Hurricane effects, Luquillo Experimental Forest, Tropical rain forest

Publication Notes:

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Wunderle, Jr., Joseph M.; Arendt, Wayne J. 2011. Avian studies and research opportunities in the Luquillo Experimental Forest: a tropical rain forest in Puerto Rico. Forest Ecology and Management. 262: 33-48.


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