Ecuador's Research Stations


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Ecuador's Research Stations

Biological Stations in Ecuador

Here is a descriptive list of the Research facilities in Ecuador

Yanayacu Biological Station

Yanayacu Biological Station is open year round and hosts scientists, artists, and school groups from around the world. The station provides excellent facilities for research, education, and creative arts in the cloud forest of Ecuador. With enough room to sleep 50, the station has single, double, and dorm-style rooms. The bathrooms include flush toilets and hot showers. In 2005, a new building was completed which houses a large kitchen, dining area, library with internet connection, personal office space, and a creative arts studio. Additional facilities include a large, outdoor work enclosure currently occupied by the Caterpillar and Parasitoid Project, a smaller outdoor enclosure currently used for work on dung beetles, and a new aviary is planned for the fall of 2007. The entire station runs on hydro-electric power!


Tiputini Biological Station

Tiputini Biodiversity Station is a scientific field research center in the Ecuadorian Amazon. It is located in the province of Orellana, about 280 km ESE from Quito, the capital city of Ecuador. It is located on the northern bank of the Tiputini River, and although separated from the Yasuni National Park by the river, the station is part of the Yasuni Biosphere Reserve. The station is jointly managed by Universidad San Francisco de Quito and Boston University as a center of education, research and conservation. Tiputini Biodiversity Station preserves a tract of 6.5 km² which mostly includes primary non-flooded forest, but there is a rather narrow belt of flooded vegetation towards the river, streams, and around a small oxbow lake. Along the Tiputini River, several beaches are uncovered during the dry season, but all are short, never greater than 100 m. Because of its remote location and agreements with local indigenous groups, no hunting of large mammals has occurred in the area and it is possible to habituate and study primates that are difficult to observe elsewhere. The station is geared towards research and education.


Consuelo de Romo Operation Administrator

Kelly Swing, Ph.D. Founding Director

David Romo, Ph.D. Co-Director


Jatun Sacha

The Jatun Sacha Biological Station is a centre for field research and education in the tropical rainforest region of the Upper Napo River in the Ecuadorian Amazon. The station includes a reserve of 2,000 hectares, of which 70% is primary forest and the remainder is secondary growth. Established in 1986, it has been conducting essential research. Checklist of flora and fauna are available: reptiles and amphibians, birds, trees, vascular plants, fungi, butterflies and mammals.
Tena is the closest city to the station and is located an hour away by bus.


Mindo Biological Station

The Mindo Biological Station is located in pristine cloud forest encompassing elevations ranging from 1,400 meters to 2,600 meters. The station itself protects 6,500 hectares of land within the 19,200-hectare Mindo-Nambillo Protected Forest.


Guandera Biological Station

The Guandera Biological Station and Reserve is located north of Ecuador in the Carchi province. I was established in 1994 with an extension of 1000 ha. The main forest type is Paramo (Andean Mountain Forests) from 3,100 to 3,600 meters above sea level; it’s remaining of an Ancient High Altitude Forest that once covered the Ecuadorian Andes.
These are some of the last unpopulated and unexploited paramos in Ecuador.


La Hesperia Biological Station

The La Hesperia Biological Station is located (on the Aloag-Santo Domingo road) in the western range of the Andes at an altitude of 1100 – 2040 meters above sea level. With an area of 814 hectares, it is located in the center of the Rio Toachi-Chiriboga IBA (Important Bird Area, declared by Bird Life International and Conservation International) and it is part of two important bioregions: The Tropical Andes and the Chocó Darien. La Hesperia encompasses three types of forest: pre-montane evergreen, low montane and high montane (cloud forest).


Congal Biological Station

Congal Biological Station is located in Muisne County in the south of Esmeraldas Province, is part of the Western Ecuador Chocó-Darién; (high biodiversity and local endemism) biogeographical region, it has Wet Tropical Forest habitats with beach, estuarine, mangrove, man-induced wet-lands.



Research Policies

Policies and Guidelines
Scientists planning to do research at the Shiripuno Research Center must submit a written proposal in either English or Spanish to the Station's Science Director at least 90 days prior to the planned entry date. The proposed research will be evaluated for final approval, and possible suggestions for improvement of compatibility with the overall goals of SRC may be made. You should send all the documentation listed below to If you do not hear from us within 5 business days, assume that your message got lost in cyberspace and please resend it.

Administration and the Advisory Board of the Shiripuno Research have the last word in decisions involving all research performed at the site. We reserve the right to grant or deny access to any institution, organization, university, individual, or group. Our regulations have been designed to be compatible with national Ecuadorian requirements but we must point out that modifications are common with changes in governmental administrations so please confirm the latest updates before submitting a proposal.

Any valid proposal must include:

1. The researcher's name, address, phone number, e-mail address (if possible), fax number and passport number.
2. The name and address of the researcher's home or sponsoring university or other institution.
3. A letter of support from the home institution for the proposed research is also required.
4. An up-to-date Curriculum Vitae (with publications list).
5. The same information (#'s 1, 2 and 3 above) for any other collaborating researchers or assistants who will be involved in the project at S.R.
6. A detailed description of the research that is expected to be performed at the station, including background information, justification of the work, expected results, methodology, data collection strategy, size and number of plots, transects or quadrants needed, whether collection is necessary and why (please see regulations concerning captures and collections below), a tentative time table including the time required to process the data and produce a written report, and a budget, (Note: this descriptive proposal cannot exceed 5 double-spaced type-written pages.).
7. A guarantee of ability to finance the time at S.R. (such as vouchers for funding or grants, or the possibility of payment in advance of a minimum of 50% per month). A detailed budget for the entire project should also be presented.
8. Proof of appropriate insurance coverage.
9. Pertinent health information concerning special conditions or vulnerabilities (allergies, epilepsy, etc.), necessities, dietary preferences (vegetarianism, etc.) or handicaps.

Researcher policies
Policies concerning researchers and their activities at SRC

All visitors or residents are required to cooperate with, and suggest improvements for the general operation and conservation philosophies and strategies of S.R.

All researchers agree to follow strictly the stipulations and restrictions that are required by S.R. administration and other supervisory bodies and understand that noncompliance may result in expulsion from the site and in flagrant cases, this could include fines imposed by S.R. or by the Ecuadorian government's Ministerio del Ambiente.

All researchers must read and understand the policies for our staff and agree not to ask workers to break rules for any purpose. Rules have been designed and explained to our staff with the purposes of conservation and efficiency.

No researcher may hire directly a S.R. staff member or other person who is not a student or professional scientist as a field assistant without prior approval of SRC. Whenever there is a necessity for such assistance, this must be arranged through or discussed with S.R. administrators.

All researchers must be willing to give informal presentations at S.R. concerning their studies to Waorani Community or workshop groups. In order to improve our library, we ask that researchers donate to the Station a copy (reprints or photocopies) of a few scientific articles pertinent to their own research.

All publications or work resulting from research at S.R. are required to include the name of the Shiripuno Research and Shiripuno Lodge.

All researchers promise to make available to S.R. two copies of any publication or other body of work, thesis or dissertation (printed, video-taped, filmed, photographed, or recorded) resulting from research done at SRC at no monetary charge.

All visitors must have and carry a current and valid record of a yellow fever vaccination, preferably a World Health Organization (WHO) card and are recommended to take some anti-malarial prophylaxis.

All visitors assume full responsibility for their own health and well being during their time at SRC and during travel to and from the station. Visitors accept that S.R and Shiripuno Lodge assume no liability whatsoever for illness, injury or death while involved in activities associated with S.R.

Area policies
Policies concerning establishment and maintenance of transects, plots, or quadrants for analysisWe will not have trails established for each and every project that is carried out at S.R. Before starting to make any trail system or other access route for any area, the manager of the station must be taken to the site by the scientist(s) involved to discuss the possible impacts of the planned development. The same policy applies to any structure that is to be built on our lands as well. In general, constructions on S.R. properties legally come to belong to S.R. The marking of any individual, plant, site, transect, plot, or quadrant must be done in an approved manner that is not distracting to other researchers or visitors and in most cases, must not be permanent.We insist on minimizing the use of standard flagging tape as it tends to proliferate wherever scientists work. In all cases, it is the direct responsibility of each researcher to remove all such marks upon conclusion of any study. It is absolutely forbidden to use flagging tape on trails within 500 meters of camp. Leaving unapproved marks after the conclusion of any study will result in a fine based on the rate of US 100 per mark.

Specimen policies
Policies concerning capture and collection of specimens

Organisms protected by CITES are further protected by S.R. The capture of any animal for the taking of samples of blood, hair, feathers, other tissues, secretions, excretions, or parasites will be subject to regulation by the administration of SRC and the government of Ecuador. Researchers must provide the information to process an export permit at least 7 business days before departure. Exporting specimens or parts of them have different regulations that may change. You must verify that your Ecuadorian research permit allows exportation.
Leaving traps or mist nets improperly attended may result in fines and/or expulsion from S.R. Whenever possible, S.R. staff will aid in determining legal aspects of research and collections and in acquisition of ministerial permits for those activities and for exportation.
If collections are necessary, it is preferable that a voucher specimen or some duplicate be deposited. In many cases, it is required by governmental regulation that a voucher specimen be deposited in the National Herbarium or Museum of Natural Sciences. It is not acceptable to take living or dead specimens from the S.R. without prior special approval by S.R. and by the Ministry of the Environment. For mammals, birds, reptiles and adult amphibians, a list of potential collections must include scientific names of the species to be taken and the number of each that is considered necessary. For fishes and larval amphibians, probable number of collections and type of gear must be previously approved and the collection must be made under ethical bounds. Most groups of invertebrates can be approved for collection only upon approval of collection methods and estimates of numbers for each of the target taxa. Proposed plant collections must include a list of genera to be collected plus the number of specimens to be collected per genus.

Mark-recapture studies
In any mark-recapture study, the kind of marks to be employed will be evaluated based on the degree of necessity and humane treatment of study subjects.

Studies of captive animals
Depending upon the organism, time of maintenance in captivity as well as other questions of animal health, welfare and humane treatment, evaluations will be made on a per case basis and will generally be approved only under very strict considerations. In cases where an overseeing board has approved study methods in the scientist's country of origin, a copy of their approval is also acceptable.

Plants, including fungi, lichens and algae
Basically voucher specimens may be taken for identification to species level. Usually specimens may only be exported when they cannot be identified in Ecuador. A specimen must be deposited in the National Herbarium but we request two good-quality photocopies of a standard representative pressed specimen of each species including the label should be made available for the station.

Insects and other invertebrates
Most collections that are well justified scientifically will be permitted with moderate limitations placed on quantity of individuals and some restrictions on specific taxonomic groups on a case by case basis. In many cases, greater scrutiny will be exercised for collection methods than for expected collection results.

Most small species may be collected in reasonable quantities for population studies but larger species will be subject to greater restrictions in general but evaluated on a per case basis. Restrictions may be expected on the type of collection gear employed due to the fact that some net types can be detrimental to a spectrum of aquatic animal populations that is considered to be excessively broad.

For most species, collection will be restricted to a minimal number of individuals be they larvae or adults but judgments will be made on a per case basis.

For snakes, collection of no more than one voucher specimen per species will be permitted. No individual of a total length of greater than 2 meters may be taken as a museum specimen. For lizards, collection will generally be restricted to a few individuals but may be disallowed completely, particularly for well-studied large species. For all caiman species, no museum specimens may be taken. In general, collection of specimens of turtles will be highly restricted.

Standard banding procedures are acceptable in general but numbers of individuals and areas of capture may be restricted by SRC administration. The collection of museum specimens will only be possible in special cases that are previously approved.

In general, no mammal species that attains a size of more than 1 kg may be collected solely for the purpose of obtaining a museum specimen. Small mammals such as rodents and bats and some marsupials may be collected for specific identification but under very strict regulation that will be determined on a per case basis. Under no circumstances will any giant armadillos, giant anteaters, primates, manatees, dolphins, deer, peccaries, cats, dogs, mustelids, capybaras, or tapirs be approved for collection. With special approval, these animals may be captured, studied, marked, and blood or other tissue samples taken as well as samples of excretions, secretions or parasites but the animal must be released subsequently.