Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Potential habitats of Scaphosepalum: Siempre Verde and the Intag region

Siempre Verde is reserve in northwestern Ecuador that protects remnant forests of the Intag Region and the Toisan Mountain Range.  This region has been extensively converted into agricultural patches so we were very lucky to visit this site that I thought it was going to be similar to the Los Cedros forest so I thought I could find some Scaphosepalums here.

The Director of this reserve is a good friend of mine, Alex Reynolds, and we both were doing our undergrad thesis, he worked with Chondrorhynca and bees and I worked with Dracula and flies. Here you can see Alex explaining to his group the activities of the day and how are we going to hike and see.

In this trip I was so happy to share the hikes Mike Wenzel from the Atlanta Botanical Gardens.  ABG has been instrumental for my research, they grow my plants and they are so good at making them flower so I can measure and study them. I am super fortunate to have their collaboration.

Back to Siempre Verde! The first day we hiked on the lower part of the reserved and walked by the river most of the time.  This place is phenomenal, we were able to find lots of terrestrial orchids, the most common were Cyclopogons.
Jeff, Judy and Mike walking along the river
I love these pictures: On the way back we had to cross a cow field with some hidden swampy spots and citrus trees that were full of orchids.
 Mike finds a super cute Stellilabium
Other cute findings

 The next day we hiked the path on the right that goes all the way to the ridge of this mountain (1000m altitudinal difference), Nelson was our guide.
The trail was full of spectackled bear tracks and we have seen some cubs on the way in.  Along the trail we also so some of the leftover bromeliads that were eaten.  
On top of the hill, there is the most unbelievable forest ever, the Lord of the Rings could totally be filmed there, you walk most of the time on the roots of trees or underneath them.

 The ridge is also covered with Barbosella plants that were fruiting but is the dominant orchid in the higher parts of this trail.  You can also find all sorts of strange things like this Pachyphylum, Fernandezia, Prescottia, Epidendrums and huge plants Lepanthes magnifica

I love the picture on the left, it makes me laugh every time I see it.  We are using our x-ray vision to see the Cotacachi volcano behind the clouds, can you see it? (If not look at the map on top of this blog).  Jeff's x-rays are clearly not working, therefore his discontent, but it seems that Mike's x-ray camera is going to work.  We walked the whole day and the only thing we saw is white! But on our way down we got very lucky and saw a bit of landscape.

 Nocturnal plant pressing

Scaphosepalum wise, we found a couple of interesting things that could contribute to my research: Platystele alucitae, and one of the forms of Specklinia grobyi that just grows on this side of the Andes.
 This was a super fun trip thanks to Alex. He is saying goodbye to us.

 Before I forget.....yes....we had a flat tire
 Love to be in the field!
This picture is dedicated to the people that don't believe in telecommuting.  This is Jeff working on his way to the little town of Apuela in the back of the truck. Intelligent phones really rock!

No comments:

Post a Comment