3/11 El Yunque National Rainforest

march 2016 225

After arming ourselves with raincoats and bug spray, we made our way to El Yunque National Rainforest.  I enjoyed talking to Saul about art and his research with geckos during the drive, and we also discussed animal behavior and acoustic ecology – I need to tell my zoomusicology friend about it.  At El Yunque, we had a harder time finding animals than our first rainforest because there were a lot more people around, but the forest was absolutely magnificent.  I loved being surrounded by so much green and the towering canopies above me, and I could hear the coqui frogs the whole time.  I had fun mimicking them through whistling. 🙂

While in El Yunque, I noticed that the atmosphere felt a lot cooler than at Bosque Rio Abajo, probably because we were so much higher in the mountains.  We spotted a walking stick, a jumping spider, a black-striped, yellow-orange butterfly, and quite a few anolis lizards.  Finding the anoles was my favorite because it was fun trying to spot them on the tree trunks.  Once we found a place to explore off the trail, we were given the opportunity to split up and create our own individual bioart sculptures.  We were also given time to sketch and create a substrate tracing (we placed a clear, plastic-like sheet on the forest floor, then traced details with permanent marker).

Dinner at El Verde BBQ was absolutely delicious – pork, chicken, yuca, mofongo, and some sort of fried, sweet banana.  If I’m ever in Puerto Rico again, I definitely want to come back for a meal!  After we made it back to the house, we had a final crit to show all of our artwork that we made throughout the week.  We also discussed our final thoughts of our experience, and then we spent the rest of the night working on our trading cards, which we would be giving to each other on Saturday morning before heading to the airport.  It would be our special way of sharing contact info and memories together for a final reflection, and goodbye.

Notes, Observations of life and habitat

  • rained on way out, otherwise very nice; much cooler than I expected; high in mountains
  • touristy – lot more people than at Bosque Rio Abajo
  • muddy, slippery, mossy, dewdrops everywhere
  • very tall trees, lots of roots and plants, smells very rich and earthy
  • Ecomorphology – different species’ physiology suit their environments, adapted for environments
    • ex: Anolis ecomorphs
  • Acoustic ecology
    • temporal – crickets, cicada; dense populations
  • Caribherp.net – great tool for researching species of herpetofauna living in the Caribbean islands

Animal species

  • Anolis evermanni
  • Anolis gundlachi
  • Jumping spider
  • Walking stick
  • Tree snails
  • heard lots of Coqui frogs
  • Striped butterfly – yellow/orange with black stripes
  • During drive:
    • White egret
    • dead iguana

Plant species

  • Bromeliads
  • Orchids
  • Hibiscus
  • During drive:
    • mango, banana, papaya, avocado, bread fruit trees