Not skipping a beat, my first week of tropical ecology class at Universidad San Francisco de Quito was spent below the canopy of Yasuni National Park in the Amazon region of ecuador. The university’s Tiputini Biodiversity Station is located in the far east of Ecuador on the Tiputini river, a tributary of the Napo River. The Tiputini field station is easily the most remote place I’ve ever been to. Getting to the Tiputini Biodiversity station requires a 40 minute flight from Quito to Coca, a 2 hour boat ride along the Napo river to Pompeya, a 2 hour open air bus ride to the Tiputini river in Yasuni National Park, followed by another 2 hour boat ride along the Tiputini river. The length of this trip combined with the 90% humidity should have knocked me out, but instead I was hypnotized by the flora and fauna en-route and throughout the entire week.
Yasuni National Park is a United Nations biosphere reserve park and is one of the most bio-diverse places on the planet. Highlights included an assortment of tanagers, Haotzins, a Many-banded Aracari, Amazonian pink river dolphins, a meter long earthworm, Morpho butterflies, tree frogs, Woolly monkeys, and leaf-cutter ants. On our hikes along the field station’s trails I’d trace vines and lianas up and down the canopy. Everywhere I looked I encountered something new. The trip was exhausting, but was rewarding in a way no other first week of school could ever be.
I’ll take a trip to the Amazon over the standard syllabus week every time.
Photos from the Tiputini Biodiversity Station in the Amazon
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<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">Ella Fornari is a biology and media arts double major at Occidental College in Los Angeles, CA and hails from Brooklyn, NY. Her interests include but are not limited to zoology, film, digital design, coffee, natural history, photography, scientific media, KenKen puzzles, bicycles, and the third person. She has an encyclopedia-like knowledge of the NYC subway system which will prove useless while she is studying evolution and ecology in the Galapagos Islands</span></p>