Zurquí

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The Project Site

 

The main ZADBI site is a 5-acre tropical cloudforest, Zurquí de Moravia, on the southwest margin of Braulio Carrillo National Park.

 

Zurquí (click here for a map) is a mid-elevation (1,600 meters high) cloud forest. Previous research has shown that mid-elevation sites, such as Zurquí, may offer the highest level of biodiversity and new species to science. Previous collecting at Zurquí, has in fact, uncovered many unknown species. (See further details at Google Earth; navigate to 10.047313N, 84.008457W).
Limited collecting will also take place at two other mid-elevation Costa Rican cloud forests with similar habitats: the nearby Tapantí National Park (40 km distant), and the more distant Las Alturas (180 km distant), near the Panamanian border. Flies from these sites are even less-known and therefore sampling can only lead to new discoveries.

 

We picked Zurquí for several reasons:

LOCATION:  It is a small cloud forest outside of, but continuous with, the much larger Braulio Carrillo National Park (BCNP). Together with BCNP, it is part of the water catchment system for San José.

ALTITUDE: At 1600 meters, it is in the mid-elevation zone, which many scientists find to be the most biodiverse.

KNOWN HOTSPOT: Previous studies have uncovered many new species from Zurquí.

HABITAT DIVERSITY: Zurquí contains different habitats including small, adjacent pastures, and an ever-flowing and an intermittent stream. This site has a rich topography, with many microhabitats, a high plant diversity (including plants that hold water, and thus, many fly larvae), abundant rotting wood, as well as leaf-cutter and army ant colonies, which host many flies.

LOGISTICS: It is a 30-minute drive from Santo Domingo, Costa Rica, where our collaborating institution, Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad (INBio), is based. Therefore, the parataxonomists at INBio and visiting scientists have easy access to the site.