The mountainous forests of Lomas de Banao and the fresh wetlands of Tunas de Zaza are home to species only found in the Caribbean— the Cuban Parakeet and the Cuban Amazon Parrot.

This is a critical moment in history for this island nation, with the potential for significant economic development around the corner. As international relations continue to improve, researchers are now able to recruit citizen scientists to help them take stock of the wildlife that inhabit these beautiful protected lands, information that is crucial to informing conservation management plans.

Working with a team of scientists from Cuba and Argentina, you will document the endemic and migratory bird species that inhabit the reserves through sightings and audio recordings, survey the flowers and trees, and monitor amphibian species for the presence of the chytrid fungus (which leads to an infectious disease that has decimated amphibian populations worldwide). The data collected will help to paint a more complete picture of these protected areas and how increased development could impact biodiversity in the future.

Participants on this project will have a special opportunity to experience a cultural exchange with the local community. Teams will join in on weekly discussions about the importance of protecting nearby forests and rivers and the value of monitoring local bird species and amphibians to track climate and water quality. Through these conversations, researchers also hope to gain a better understanding on their expectations and views regarding how best to connect the communities with the conservation programs in the reserve.

By studying birds, trees, and amphibians—species that are indicators of habitat quality—scientists hope to gain a better understanding of the overall ecosystem during a pivotal moment for Cuba.

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Location

Lomas de Banao Ecological Reserve, Sancti Spíritus, Cuba

Cost

$4250

Includes all accommodation, meals, transfers, insurance and research activities

Duration

10 days

Dates

  • 30 March 2021
  • 13 April 2021
  • 11 May 2021
  • 1 June 2021
  • 15 June 2021
  • 6 July 2021
  • 2 November 2021

Activity Level

Moderate

Lead Scientist

Natalia A. Rossi