Central American cloud forest, a magical ecosystem where everything is alive


The main purpose of my trip to the Cloud Forest Biological Corridor in Guatemala was to introduce myself to the board of the partnership working in the area and give a presentation of my project proposal. This was essential to be allowed to conduct field research in the state and private reserves, and with that, get preliminary data (bird samples) for writing a strong dissertation proposal. I have previously conducted fieldwork in Mexico, Guatemala, and Costa Rica, most of the time involving ecological and evolutionary questions focused on birds. I conducted all the activities proposed for my summer field research. The board of the partnership was very approachable and interested in supporting my research. They allowed me to work on their lands and collect bird samples, which are the foundation for my dissertation. I learned that meeting and talking with people is the first step to achieve conservation goals; it is important to share our scientific interests but listening to their own interests and concerns is even more valuable. I would definitely recommend involving undergraduate students from Berkeley, as well as students from the host country. It provides a way to promote research and encourages students to pursue graduate studies in foreign countries. Now that I am back in California, I will work at the Evolutionary Genetics Lab and gather data from the collected samples. These specific samples will provide information on the gene flow across different mountains and the state of avian populations in the area.

Rosa Alicia Jiménez Barrios
Publication date: 
August 18, 2017
Publication type: 
Student Research