Research plays a pivotal role in conservation efforts by providing essential information and insights necessary for effective decision-making and action.

Through scientific investigation, conservationists can better understand biodiversity, ecosystem dynamics, and the impacts of human activities on natural environments. Research also informs the development and implementation of conservation strategies and policies, helping to address threats to wildlife and habitats. Furthermore, research enhances public awareness and engagement in conservation efforts, fostering greater support and participation in protecting our planet’s precious natural resources.

ETH Zurich Collaboration

Finca Cántaros is collaborating with the Global Experiment Network (GEN) of the Crowther Lab of the Swiss university ETH Zürich (this institution leads programs and research focused on habitat restoration on a global scale). The project is divided into two experiments: one is called the Functional Diversity Experiment, through which 1440 trees were planted, and the other is called Natural Regeneration versus Assisted Restoration, through which 312 trees were planted. It is worth underscoring that all of the trees planted are native to the region. In both experiments, the goal is to gather new information to help promote the success of existing and future ecological restoration projects. Above all, the experiments seek ways to make restoration more efficient, and to move away from just simply planting trees as the “go to” for restoration efforts. Further, we have the opportunity to use an amazing technology kit provided by the online restoration platform “Restor” thanks to funding from Google, and with the drone, applications that allow us to analyze different aspects of the forest, as well as other types of advancing technology that support data collection, we will be able to monitor these experiments in new and innovative ways.

Collaboration with Delmore Lab, Texas A&M University

Seasonal movement of Swainson’s Thrushes (Catharus ustulatus) in Costa Rica

We have started a new project with researcher Dr. Kira Delmore of Texas A&M University and her collaborator Dr. Hannah Justen, along with ornithologists Karen Leavelle (Director of Osa Birds) and ornithologist Holly Garrod, which consists of understanding how the species Catharus ustulatus, or Swainson’s Thrush, is affected by climate change.

Through the study of epigenetics, which involves analyzing changes in how genes are activated or deactivated without changing their DNA sequence, we have set up a 3-year investigation where we will be capturing individuals of the species to extract small samples of blood, feathers, and nails, which will then be analyzed in a laboratory.

This way, we will learn about the mechanisms that regulate gene expression and how these changes can be influenced by environmental factors. This research will be carried out within the grounds of Finca Cántaros and at Rancho Quemado, in the Osa Peninsula. Additionally, it will also be conducted in Canada and Colombia.

Epigenetic changes can have a profound impact on the development and behaviour of birds, influencing their growth, health, adaptation to the environment, and ability to respond to stress.

Understanding how epigenetic changes can influence the adaptability of birds is crucial for predicting and conserving the ability of these species to face the constantly changing environmental challenges.

Use of radiotelemetry and the Motus Wildlife Tracking Network to investigate movement patterns of the Swainson’s Thrush (Catharus ustulatus)

We will be deploying 40 Motus NTQB 2-3-3 transmitters each year (for a total of three years) to track the movements of this species. The Motus technology is a global network of telemetry stations, run by Birds Canada, focused on tracking birds and other small animals fitted with a radio transmitter, which are then detected by Motus stations and documented in a central database. This provides valuable data on the movements and migration patterns of the species under study, which is crucial for the understanding and conservation of bird and other animal populations. 

MoSI Station Bird Banding

Finca Cántaros recently joined the Monitoring Overwinter Survival Program (the acronym in Spanish is “MoSI”). Run by the Institute for Bird Populations (IBP), MoSI involves an international network of collaborators who coordinate banding efforts in Latin America. Through the data we will soon begin to collect through three annual  MoSI “pulses,” we can acquire new information about populations in the Coto Brus area. We thank the IBP and Costa Rica’s System of National Parks (the acronym in Spanish is SINAC) for the support in getting our bird banding efforts off the ground.  More details coming soon!