TROPINET, Vol. 8, No. 3, September 1997

Association for Tropical Biology on the World Wide Web at ATB members may want to check their listings in the Membership Directory posted on the homepage.


1997 Association for Tropical Biology Annual Meeting
by Deborah Clark, La Selva Biological Station and University of Missouri, St. Louis; Elizabeth Braker, Occidental College; and Paulo S. Oliveira, U. Campinas, Brazil.

The June 1997 Annual Meeting of the Association for Tropical Biology was a landmark both for the society and for tropical biology. The venue was San José, Costa Rica, a world center for the development of tropical science, for conservation of tropical biomes, and for the study of tropical biodiversity. This location no doubt helped stimulate record-breaking participation by biologists from all over the tropics. Another special draw was that the meetings were jointly sponsored by the Organization for Tropical Studies, to honor the contributions of Donald and Beverly Stone over the 20 years during which they brought OTS to its current pivotal role in education and research in tropical biology. Given that the heart of OTS' activities has been in Costa Rica, it was especially fitting for OTS to join with ATB at this year's meeting.

With nearly 300 papers and posters presented in the four days of sessions, not to mention the seven symposia (from Multitrophic Interactions to The Conservation and Ecology of Tropical Bats), five workshops, and the plenary session, there was too much going on to be covered by any single meeting participant (read, we can't possibly give a comprehensive report here). Suffice it to say that this year's annual meetings of ATB demonstrated beyond doubt that tropical biology is flourishing.

The international networking that is one of ATB's fortes was another major outcome of this annual meeting, with field experiences and research ideas being shared among tropical biologists from all over the world. Five hundred and eighty-three biologists from 22 countries attended the San José sessions.

OTS President Dr. Pedro Leon noted in his plenary address that the coming of age of tropical field research was seen in the geographical distribution of participants. 56% of attendees were from tropical countries, with eleven different tropical countries represented. An even more striking sign of the increasing strength of the national research communities in the tropics was the distribution of first authors of the papers and posters that were presented this year. Nearly half (45%) of the first authors were from tropical countries. We can only expect that this trend will continue over the coming years, a strong cause for optimism regarding the world's ability to address the many pressing issues in tropical biology. A clear bias in this tropical participation was towards Latin America, with only a few representatives from other tropical countries (India, 1; Brunei, 1). Food for thought for the future is that, by convening future annual meetings in tropical Africa and Southeast Asia, ATB may be able to greatly extend participation in the society by tropical scientists from these parts of the world.

In the Alwyn Gentry Student Award competition, there were an impressive 85 papers and posters. Paulo Oliveira assembled a panel of 30 judges from across the diverse fields of tropical ecology, and each student paper and poster was evaluated by three judges. The level of the submissions was excellent, and in the end five students were chosen to receive the 1997 Gentry Award. The two selected oral presentations were by Erika Deinert (U. Texas) and Peter Sherman (U. Michigan). The three winning posters were those of Marie de la Fuente (U. Colorado), Aldicir Scariot (EMBRAPA, Brazil), and Steve Yanoviak (U. Oklahoma). All the awardees will receive a year's subscription to Biotropica, a cash award from ATB, and a $100 donation in books from the University of Chicago Press (thanks to Susan Abrams, Executive Editor, Natural Sciences).

Regarding this year's meetings, major kudos are due to Dr. Jorge Jiménez and other OTS staff, and the many collaborators from Costa Rican universities who made the meeting the success it was. These people did the massive work that went largely unnoticed by us participants: from design of the program, to abstract reviewing, to smoothly running logistics, to filling last-minute requests for masking tape and white tablecloths. A very special thanks is due to the nearly 100 student volunteers from the Universidad de Costa Rica, the Universidad Nacional, and the Instituto Tecnológico de Costa Rica, who worked around the clock during meeting week. Another special thanks is due to Costa Rica's Ministry of Science and Technology, which donated audiovisual equipment and funded the simultaneous translation of the sessions. Numerous local biologists organized the highly successful field trips that showcased Costa Rica's natural diversity and network of protected areas.

Next year's ATB annual meeting will be held jointly with that of the Ecological Society of America, in Baltimore, Maryland, USA. Given this year's experience, we can expect a high level of excitement and interchange next August.


Research Opportunities for Undergraduates in Tropical Lake Studies. The Nyanza Project is a new summer research training program for undergraduates, sponsored by the International Decade of East African Lakes and funded by the National Science Foundation and the Lake Tanganyika Biodiversity Project. This six-week program is open to sophomore to senior level undergraduates of any nationality attending a U.S. college or university, or to students from the countries surrounding Lake Tanganyika (Tanzania, Burundi, Zambia and Zaire), who are interested in continuing research careers in any aspect of aquatic sciences (limnology, ecology and evolutionary biology, conservation biology, geolimnology and paleolimnology). Students who are members of under-represented minority groups are particularly encouraged to apply. The program will take place at Kigoma, Tanzania to take advantage of world class research opportunities at Lake Tanganyika. Students who are accepted into the program will have their airfare, room and board and research expenses paid by the project and will be given a stipend. Applications for the 1998 program (1 June-10 July) will be accepted until 1 January 1998. U.S. student inquiries: The Nyanza Project, Department of Geosciences, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721. Tel: (520) 626-7312. Fax: (520) 621-2672. Email: Web: African student inquiries: Lake Tanganyika Biodiversity Project, P.O. Box 90, Kigoma, Tanzania. Tel: (255) 695-2992. Fax: (255) 695-2993.Email: Web:

Latin America and Caribbean

Simla. The Asa Wright Nature Centre Management Committee will produce an historical record of the William Beebe Tropical Research Station at Simla for future publication. The publication will include an account of the establishment and development of the Research Station, a photorecord of the facilities, and a full bibliography of the research done by persons who have lodged at Simla. While compiling the bibliography, we it hope to amass a full set of reprints or copies of papers on research done at Simla. We would appreciate it if any past researchers or visitors to Simla who have information or materials relevant to this endeavor would send such materials to the address below. In addition, any anecdotes or photographs on the realities of tropical research or the finer moments at Simla would be appreciated and considered for inclusion. All contributors will be appropriately acknowledged. --Dr Mary Alkins-Koo, Zoology Unit, Department of Life Sciences, The University of the West Indies, St Augustine, Trinidad, West Indies. Tel: (868) 662-2002; Fax: (868) 663-9686; Email (Please limit messages to 1-2 pages).
Book Donations Sought. The Graduate Program in Ecology and Conservation at the Federal University of Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil, seeks donations of books in Biology, especially ecology, biostatistics, animal behavior, botany, zoology, wetlands and conservation, to improve the library of this young program. Donations can be sent to Profa. Marial Eugenia Carvalho Amaral, Departamento de Biologia, Mestrado em Ecologia e Conservacao, Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso do Sul, CP 649, CEP 79.070-900, Campo Grande, MS, Brazil.
I Confêrencia Nacional de Educaçao Ambiental. The First Brazilian Conference on Environmental Education will take place in Brasília, 7-10 October 1997. Participants will have the opportunity to contribute to new policies and directions for environmental education in Brazil. Discussion will be organized around five major themes: Environmental Education and Sustainable Development; Formal Environmental Education: Methods and Training; Environmental Education and the Environmental Administration Process; Environmental Education and Public Policy; and Communication and Information in Environmental Education. Information can be found on the conference web site:

North America

Forest Canopies 1998: Global Perspectives: Fostering Research, Education, and Conservation of Forest Canopies Throughout the World. The Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, in Sarasota, Florida, USA, will host this meeting 4-8 November 1997. The conference will feature ten sessions with invited and contributed papers and posters, discussion groups, a methods workshop, and an educators pre-conference workshop. Invited speakers include Al Gore, Bruce Babbit, Tom Lovejoy, and Mark Moffett. Information: Meg Lowman, Director of Research and Conservation, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, 811 South Palm Ave., Sarasota, FL. 34236-7726, USA. Fax: (941) 951-1474. Email
Forum on Nature and Human Society: The Quest for a Sustainable World. The National Academy of Sciences, Smithsonian Institution, Library of Congress, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science will convene a symposium in Washington DC, 27-30 October 1997. The main goal of this forum is to improve the mutual understanding among leaders in science, industry, public policy, and the media about how biodiversity supports us and its potential to further enhance our lives and livelihood. Information: Tel: (202) 334-2215, Email


Correction. Tropinet for June 1997 listed an incorrect URL for the site prepared by R. Podolsky for UNDP. The site lists biodiversity data management tools. The correct URL is

Biota: The Biodiversity Database Manager by Robert K. Colwell, University of Connecticut. Sinauer Associates, 1996-1997. Specimen-based, biological data and collections management software for individuals, institutions, and projects. Available for Windows and Macintosh.
Biota originated with the Arthropods of La Selva Project (ALAS), a large-scale inventory of arthropod diversity in a lowland tropical rainforest. Biota helps manage specimen-based biodiversity and collections data by providing a graphical interface to a fully relational database structure. A comprehensive manual backs up intuitive menus and screens. An array of user-tested tools facilitate rapid data input, update, maintenance, analysis, and reporting. Biota's Import Editor converts existing data sets to Biota's relational structure, and a wide array of text and image file export tools provides easy access to your data for analysis and publication using other applications.
For ecologists, conservation biologists, reserve managers, and biogeographers, Biota offers efficient and flexible tools for recording and analyzing locality- or sample-based survey data, including full geographic and taxonomic information and images. For taxonomists, systematists, and collections managers, Biota offers tools for recording data and images for specimen determinations as well as for revisions and evolutionary studies.
Biota is available in both individual user ($125) and client-server format, for Windows 95 and Macintosh platforms. Data files are cross-platform compatible. Individual Latin American and Caribbean purchasers may request a 20% discount on all Biota software, with shipping charges waived. Information: Sinauer Associates, Inc., Plumtree Road, Sunderland, MA 01375-0407 USA. Tel: (413) 549-4300. Fax:
(413) 549-1118. Email: Orders: General inquiries: WWW: For more details on Biota, visit the Biota Website at
Global Elevation Data. The United States Geological Survey (USGS), in collaboration with other federal government agencies and international earth science organizations, recently completed and made available a global elevation data set for use in many diverse earth science disciplines. GTOPO30 data are now available at: Also available on CD-ROM from: EDC DAAC User Services, USGS EROS Data Center, Sioux Falls, SD., 57198. Tel: (605) 594-6116. Fax: (605) 594-6963. Email
New Global Forests Website. The Canadian International Development Agency Forestry Advisers Network (CFAN) has published a new document on their Website. "Sustaining Global Forests" is available in English (with links to French-language site) at

Field Station Profile:
Las Cuevas Research Station, Belize

Las Cuevas Research Station is a joint initiative between the Government of Belize and the Natural History Museum, London established under a Memorandum of Understanding signed in 1992. The Research Station is located in the Maya Mountains and situated in the Chiquibul Forest Reserve, which lies within a much larger area of protected forest totaling about half a million hectares. The station is on the site of a former logging camp named Las Cuevas after the spectacular cave system nearby. At an altitude of 500 m ASL, the site receives 1500 mm of rainfall per year. The vegetation is lowland, broad-leafed tropical forest punctuated by stands of pine. Hurricanes and fires have left their mark on the Chiquibul Forest. The result of these intense large scale disturbances is a relatively even-aged stand with about 75 tree species/ha. The tree species characteristic of such forest: Swietenia macrophylla King (mahogany), Cedrela odorata L. (cedar), Sebastiana longicuspis Standl. (ridge white poison wood) are all common in the forest surrounding the research station. The Chiquibul Forest, like much of Belize, contains numerous archaeological remains from the ancient Maya civilization. In the immediate vicinity there are extensive ruins both aboveground and in the cave while the major site of Caracol lies only 15 km west of the research station.
Construction of the research station began in 1993 and there are now five buildings capable of supporting about 30 people. Laboratory facilities are basic and being upgraded. On-site reference collections for plants and insects are being established. Access is good, with an all-season road to the Douglas Da Silva Forest Department Station (32 km away) and on to San Ignacio (a further 48 km). Las Cuevas Research Station exists to support multidisciplinary research into the biodiversity and environment of the Chiquibul Forest. It provides a venue for conservation, scientific and other workshops and will be used for educational and training programs designed to develop skills in the assessment, identification, monitoring and management of biodiversity. The central thrust of the research will be to study and model biodiversity, the physical environment, and their interactions at a range of spatial and temporal scales. Recent projects have included baseline surveys of plants and insects, remote sensing and vegetation classification, and studies of insect herbivory on tree seedlings.
A growing range of collaborating institutions make use of the facilities at Las Cuevas, if you would like to know more about the Research Station please contact Alex Monro, Department of Botany, The Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London. Email Las Cuevas will soon be featured on the Museum's web site at: -- Steve Blackmore, The Natural History Museum, London,

Meetings and Events

Items marked (*) are new this issue

*Ecological Society of Australia.
Albury, Australia, 1-3 October. Information: Nicolas Klomp, Charles Stuart University, PO Box 789 Albury, Australia. Email
*Fourth International Conference on the Ecology of Invasive Alien Plants. Berlin, Germany, 1-4 October. Information: Dr. Uwe Starfinger, Institut fur Oekologie der TU, Schmidt-Ott-Str. 1, D-12165 Berlin, Germany. Email

North American Ornithological Conference.
St. Louis, Missouri, 6-12 April. Annual meeting of the AOU, AFO, COS, CWS, and WOS with RRF special symposium. Information: Bette Loiselle, Local Co-Chair, Dept. of Biology, University of Missouri St.Louis, St. Louis, MO 63121-4499. Tel: (314) 516-6224. Email, WWW:
INTECOL: V11 International Congress of Ecology. Florence, Italy. 19-25 July. Information: Almo Farina, INTECOL Vice President, Secretariat V11 International Congress of Ecology, Lunigiana Museum of Natural History, Fortezza della Brunella, 54011 Aulla, Italy, Tel: +39-187-400252. Fax: +39-187-420727. Email, WWW: .

Tropical Science Center (TSC) offers courses. Tropical Dendrology, 2-13 March 1998 (Spanish); 22 June-4 July 1998 (English). US $1800. These courses will use the methods developed by Dr. L.R. Holdridge and expanded on by Dr. A. Gentry. Field characteristics such as leaves, twigs, bark, buttresses, odor, and exudates are used for tree identification. Instructors include: W. Haber. Missouri Botanical Garden, H. Jiménez-Saa and Luis Poveda, TSC, and P. Sánchez, formerly of Costa Rican National Herbarium. Introduction to Field Ornithology. 27 October-8 November 1997, and 27 April-9 May 1998. US $1900. Three instructors will accompany each course. Information: Dr. H. Jiménez-Saa, TSC, Apartado 8-3870-1000, San José, Costa Rica. Tel: (506) 253-3267, Fax: 5-6-253-4963. Email WWW:
Biocon: Bioconservation Internationals school held in South American tropics. Six sessions of college-level classes will be held from June to October. On-site at the Reserved Zone of Tumbes and mangroves of Tumbes National Sanctuary, Peru. Information: 3306 N. Canyon Rd. Provo, UT 84604-4548. Tel/Fax: (801) 377-1716. Email WWW:


1998 UBD Research Fellowship. Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) offers a number of one-year post-doctoral research fellowships within the Faculty of Science for research in Brunei Darussalam. Ecologically-orientated research topics are especially encouraged and preference may be given to projects which complement work already in progress. Current research interests within the Biology Department of UBD include the marine and coastal ecosystems, mangroves, peatswamps, heath and mixed dipterocarp rainforests. Further information on current research, facilities and terms & conditions can be obtained by contacting Colin Maycock via Email at or Fax: ++ 673-2-249502.

Funding Opportunities

Peace Frogs Fellowship in Amphibian Research. The Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS) and Peace Frogs, the Washington DC-based clothing company, are providing annual fellowship awards for graduate students interested in conducting amphibian research in Costa Rica. Award limit is $2000. Information: OTS North American Office, Email
Turner Awards for Graduate Research at La Selva. Awards will be between $250 and $1000 and should be considered for preliminary investigations undertaken by students in order to begin focus on their thesis research. Information: OTS North American Office (Email address above).
The Center for Field Research: Field Grants. Invites proposals for 1998-99 field grants funded by Earthwatch. Earthwatch is an international, non-profit organization dedicated to sponsoring field research and promoting public education in the sciences and humanities. Past projects have been successfully fielded in, but are not limited to, the following disciplines: animal behavior, biodiversity, ecology, ornithology, endangered specie, entomology, marine mammalogy, ichthyology, herpetology, marine ecology, and resource and wildlife management. Interdisciplinary projects are especially encouraged as is multinational collaboration. Information: The Center for Field Research, 680 Mt. Auburn St. Watertown, MA 02272. Tel: (617) 926-8200. Fax: (617) 926-8532. Email WWW:
Huyck Preserve Research Grants. The Biological Research Station of the Edmund Niles Huyck Preserve offers grants (max.=$2500) to support research utilizing the resources of the Preserve. Among the research areas are basic and applied ecology, animal behavior, systematics, evolution, and conservation. The 2000 acre preserve is located on the Helderberg Plateau, 30 miles SW of Albany. Habitats include northeast hardwood-hemlock forests, conifer plantations, old fields, permanent and intermittent streams, 10 and 100 acre lakes, and several waterfalls. Facilities include a newly expanded laboratory building, library, collections, and houses/cabins for researchers. Deadlne is 1 February 1998. Applications from: Dr. Richard Wyman, Executive Director, E.N. Huyck Preserve and Biological Research Station, PO Box 189, Rensselaerville, NY 12147.


The Origin of Biodiversity in Insects: Phylogenetic Tests of Evolutionary Scenarios. P. Grandcolas (ed.). 1997. Memoires du Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle, 173: 354 pp. This volume contains 18 contributions from 20 authors, dealing with both methodological problems and case studies on 11 different groups of insects, mostly in the tropics. These contributions provide the reader with leading and original accounts of the diversity of insects viewed from an evolutionary perspective, concerning social and reproductive behavior, acoustic communication, mutualistic interactions, food choice and defense strategies; they will certainly be useful to every biologist interested in evolution, phylogenetics, or entomology. Hardback, with many illustrations and two colored plates. ca. 90 US $ + postage. Orders: Backhuys Publishers, Dr. W. Backhuys, P.O. Box 321, 2300 AH Leiden, The Netherlands. Fax: (31) 71 517 18 56.
Ecology of an African Rainforest: Logging in Kibale and the Conflict Between Conservation and Exploitation. T.T. Struhsaker. 1997. University Press. Summarizes 20 years of research in the Kibale forest in Uganda, one of the most important centers for the study of tropical rain forests in Africa. By providing long-term data on a variety of plants and animals, it offers the first truly in-depth synthesis of the consequences of selective logging in the tropics.456 pp. ISBN 0-8130-1490-5, Cloth, $39.95. To order: University Press of Florida, 15 NW 15th Street, Gainesville, Florida 32611-2079. Tel: (352) 392-1351.
Publications from Columbia University Press.
Rainforest Cities: Urbanization, Development, and Globalization of the Brazilian Amazon. J.O. Browder and B. Godfrey. 1997. 424 pp. ISBN 0-231-10655-6, paper. $19.50.
Tropical Deforestation: The Human Dimension. L.E. Sponsel, T.N. Headland, and R.C. Bailey, eds. 1996. 352 pp. ISBN 0-231-10319-0, paper. $19.50.
Medicinal Resources of the Tropical Forest: Biodiversity and its Importance to Human Health. M.J. Balick, E. Elisabetsky, S. Laird, eds.1996. 464 pp. ISBN 0-231-10171-6, paper. $35.00. Orders: Columbia University Press, 562 West 113th St., New York, NY 10025. Fax: (212) 316-9422.
Biodiversity and Human Health. F. Grifo and J. Rosenthal. 1997. Island Press. Based on a two-day conference sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the Smithsonian Institution, the book opens a dialogue on the human health consequences of the loss of biological diversity. 350 pp. cloth: ISBN 1-55963-500-2, $50.00. paper: ISBN 1-55963-501-0, $29.95. Send orders to: Island Press, Box 7, Dept. 2PR., Covelo, CA 95428. Tel: (800) 828-1302.
Biodiversity II: Understanding and Protecting Our Biological Resources. M.L. Reaka-Kudla, D.E. Wilson, and E.O. Wilson, eds. 1997. Joseph Henry Press. This volume updates readers on the search for insight into the Earth's species and documents how much of life remains to be scientifically identified. It explores identification strategies and methods along with implications for protecting biodiversity. 560 pp. paper: $29.95. Hardcover: $34.95. Send Orders to: Joseph Henry Press, Attn: Marketing Dept., 2101 Constitution Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20418. Fax: (202) 334-2793.
The Last Frontier Forests: Ecosystems and Economies on the Edge. D. Bryant, D. Nielsen, and L. Tangley. 1997. World Resources Institute. Shows the dramatic decline of original pristine forest and the status of the lar ge remaining tracks. In vivid full page, full color maps, it ranks country by country the perilous state of the world's forests today. 42 pp. ISBN 1-56973-198-5. $14.95. Send orders to: WRI Publications, PO Box 4852, Hampden Station, Baltimore, MD 21211, USA.
Neotropical Rainforest Mammals: A Field Guide, Second Edition. L.H. Emmons. 1997. The University of Chicago Press. 396 pp. Cloth: ISBN 0-226-20719-6, $80.00. Paper: ISBN 0-226-20721-8, $25.95. Information: Dave Aftandilian. Tel: (773) 702-0279. Fax: (773) 702-9756. Email
Guide to the Vascular Plants of Central French Guiana, Part 1: Pteridophytes, Gymnosperms, and Monocotyledons. S.A. Mori, G. Cremers, C. Gracie, J.J. de Granville, M. Hoff, J.D. Mitchell. 1997. The New York Botanical Garden. This is part one of a two-part guide to the vascular plants of central French Guiana. 422 pp. ISBN 0-89327-398-8. $50.00. Send orders to: Scientific Publications Dept., The New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, NY 10458-5126, USA.