Conservation Research

Supporting conservation-related research at Reserva Las Gralarias is one of the core goals of the Las Gralarias Foundation. While projects are diverse, they all share a common goal of enhancing knowledge and conservation of the species who inhabit this sensitive cloud forest ecosystem.

Pristimantis Mutabilis

The shape-shifting Punkrocker Frog

Many projects have resulted in exciting discoveries of new species. These include the Las Gralarias Glassfrog, Nymphargus lasgralarias (Hutter and Guayasamin 2012), the famous shape-shifting frog affectionately nick-named “The Punkrocker,” Pristimantis mutabilis (Guayasamin et al 2015), and two moth species, Hynhamia lasgralariae and Dimorphopalpa lyonsae, one named for the preserve and the other for RLG owner Jane Lyons (Razowski and Pelz 2007).

Other projects have helped expand knowledge about the ecosystem of Reserva Las Gralarias. We have teamed up with Professor Eric Snyder and students enrolled in his Tropical Ecology and Conservation course offered at Michigan’s Grand Valley State University (USA) in an on-going, bi-annual study to conduct long-term water quality monitoring and aquatic invertebrate surveys.

GVSU students in Study Abroad program

Students from Grand Valley State University participating in the Study Abroad program

Additionally, staff from Ecuador’s National Herbarium have surveyed the plant communities at RLG, discovering the critically endangered Podandrogyne brevipedunculata in relative high abundance at the reserve.

A multitude of behavioral studies of RLG fauna have been completed as well, including the courtship behaviors of an endangered glassfrog, Centrolene peristictum (Dautel et al 2011), the nest-building behavior of the Yellow-breasted Antpitta (nest found by RLG’s very own Segundo Imba and described by Greeney et al 2010), and the nocturnal behavior of mammals (Bartzke et al 2008; see the trail camera gallery for photos).

At the reserve, we have hosted numerous graduate students working on various projects, and the list below attests to the variety of studies the foundation has supported:

  • faunal use of tank bromeliads (Lui et al 2010: The University of Leeds)
  • surveys of butterflies (Kell 2010: Universidad de Catolica, Quito)
  • the role of parental care in larval glassfrog survival, development, and the skin-associated microbiome (Delia et al 2014: Boston University)
  • hummingbird behavior (Noble 2010: The University of Leeds)
  • measuring energy subsidies of stream communities using stable isotopes (Harris 2015: Grand Valley State University)

Those interested in conducting conservation-based research at RLG should contact Dr. Katherine Krynak at for application materials and general information regarding required permits.

To view a list of publications based on research at Reserva Las Gralarias, click here. For a PDF version of the publication list, click here.


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