Study and Conservation of the Biodiversity

Project location: Ecuador
Project start date: July 2006 - Project end date: July 2008
Project number: 2006-13
Beneficiary: University of L'Aquila

October 2007 Interim Report


During the first year of activity  two journeys to Ecuador were done (July 2006 and July 2007). During these journeys a large amount of material was collected in different environments (swamps, tropical rainforest, "paramo" of high altitude, etc.), but especially in the "bosque nublado" (cloud forest) of the protected area "Bosque Integral Otonga". Obviously, the study of the abundant material collected during the first journey is still in progress. As to the insects, several new species, and also a few new genera have been identified: for instance, in a paper now in press R. Pace describes 32 new species and 2 new genera of the Staphylinidae, collected by me mostly in Otonga; are also in press the descriptions of a few species of the Carabidae, among which Diploharpus rossii and Ecuadion rossii, both from Otonga, described in two different papers by P. Moret and L. Toledano. Three other undescribed genera, all from Otonga, have been identified: one of the Limnichidae, one of the Erotylidae, and one of the Pselaphidae ; surprisingly, the three latter insects are all hosts of new species of the Laboulbeniales. On the other hand, the material which has not been studied to date is by far more abundant than the studied one. As to the parasitic fungi, more than 20 new species have been identified; for 19 of these, 10 of which from Otonga, the description has already been drafted and a few scientific papers are in progress; moreover, a paper in which 13 species new for Ecuador (7 from Otonga) is now in press.
The second journey (July 2007) is barely achieved and the scanning of the collected material, more abundant than the material collected in the previous journey, is still going on.
The training of a student from Ecuador was also carried out, which in our case is A. Carolina Proaño Castro, student in Biology in the Pontificia Universitad Catolica del Ecuador, who received a study grant for this purpose. Carolina joined me during field collecting, she carried out collecting on here one, she spent in Italy a month working in the Department of Environmental Sciences of the University of L'Aquila (February 2007), she cooperated in writing out of the paper mentioned above and is now preparing here thesis on the parasitic fungi (degree in April 2008); the girl is very much involved and is working with a will (and with very good results).

In conclusion, during the first year of the project all the proposed goals have been achieved; as to the results of the scientific research, it can be stated that these are even better than expected.

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University of L'Aquila (Italy)
Environmental Sciences Department

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