Effective conservation depends upon sound science. At FCAT, we pride ourselves in providing ‘solutions-based’ scientific research of the highest caliber. This research, conducted by local resident researchers and national and international scientists, addresses how human activities impact natural systems in the areas where we work. Our research is disseminated to local communities and stakeholders through our education programs and formal and informal reports. We also disseminate results internationally via peer-reviewed scientific articles, popular articles in magazines and newspapers, and presentations at scientific meetings.

Gonzalez scientific training

The focal point of our research is the long-wattled umbrellabird, a charismatic species of bird that is in danger of extinction due to habitat loss and hunting. Umbrellabirds are important dispersers of large-seeded fruits such as palms, and as a consequence they play a critical role in the maintenance of rain forests. Our work combines radio tracking and GPS tracking with observation in the field and molecular analyses of dispersed seeds to assess how Umbrellabird seed dispersal services in pristine and altered landscapes.

Related lines of research assess the basic biology and conservation requirements of endangered species and patterns of biodiversity vary in relation to habitat quality. Currently, we are making a concerted effort to better understand the conservation value of forest fragments.

List of publications produced by FCAT researchers

Browne, L., M. Gonzalez, and J. Karubian. 2015. Biodiversity in forest fragments of the Mache-Chindul Reserve. Quito, Ecuador. PDF

Browne, L., K. Ottewell, and J. Karubian. 2015. Short-term genetic consequences of habitat loss and fragmentation for the neotropical palm Oenocarpus bataua. Heredity. doi: 10.1038/hdy.2015.35. PDF

G. F. M. Jongsma, R. W. Hedley, R. Durães, and J. Karubian. 2014. Amphibian Diversity and Species Composition in Relation to Habitat Type and Alteration in the Mache–Chindul Reserve, Northwest Ecuador. Herpetologica 70(1):34-46. PDF

Karubian, J. and R. Durães. Impacts of mating behavior on plant-animal seed dispersal mutualisms: a case study from a Neotropical lek-breeding bird. In Sexual Selection: Insights from the Neotropics (eds. R. Macedo and G. Machado). Elsivier Press. Pp. 365-390. PDF

Carrasco, L., Berg, K. S., Litz, J., Cook, A. and J. Karubian. 2013. Avifauna of the Mache-Chindul Reserve, northwest Ecuador. Neotropical Ornithology 24: 331-324. PDF | Appendix

Karubian, J. 2013. Award for Excellence in Tropical Biology and Conservation. Biotropica 45(6) 772-773. PDF | Web

Durães, R., Carrasco, L., Smith, T. B., and J. Karubian. 2013. Relative effects of forest degradation versus fragmentation on avian communities in a Neotropical biodiversity hotspot. Biological Conservation 166: 203-211. PDF

Kraul, C. 2013. Ecology in Action. Tulanian Magazine. PDF | Cover – News piece on work in Ecuador

Scofield, D.G., P.E. Smouse, J. Karubian and V.L. Sork. 2012. Using alpha, beta, and gamma diversity to characterize seed dispersal by animals: social behavior matters. American Naturalist. PDF

Karubian, J., L. Browne, C. Bosque, T. Carlo, M. Galetti, B.A. Loiselle, J.G. Blake, D. Cabrera, R. Durães, F.M. Labecca, K.M. Holbrook, R. Holland, W. Jetz, F. Kummeth, J. Olivo, K. Ottewell, G. Papadakis, G. Rivas, S. Steiger, B. Voirin, and M. Wikelski. 2012. Seed dispersal by Neotropical birds: emerging patterns and underlying processes. Neotropical Ornithology. PDF

Ottewell, K., E. Grey, F. Castillo, and J. Karubian. 2012. Direct parentage analysis reveals non-leptokurtic pollen dispersal in the insect-pollinated tropical palm Oenocarpus bataua. Heredity. doi: 10.1038/hdy.2012.40  PDF | Commentary | Podcast

Mila, B., E.S. Tavares, A.M. Saldana, T.B. Smith, J. Karubian and A.J. Baker. 2012. A trans-Amazonian screening of mtDNA reveals deep intraspecific divergence in forest birds and suggests a vast underestimation of species diversity. PloS One 7: e40541. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0040541 PDF

Karubian, J., R. Durães, J. Storey, and T.B. Smith. 2012. Mating behavior drives seed dispersal in the long-wattled umbrellabird Cephalopterus penduliger. Biotropica 44: 689-698. PDF *Recipient: 2013 Award for Excellence in Tropical Biology & Conservation

Karubian, J., L. Carrasco, P. Mena, J. Olivo, D. Cabrera, F. Castillo, R. Durães, and N. El Ksabi. 2011. Nesting biology, home range, and habitat use of the brown wood-rail (Aramides wolfi) in northwest Ecuador. Wilson Journal of Ornithology 123: 137-141. PDF

Karubian, J. 2011. The Long-wattled Umbrellabid: the feathered gardeners of the Choco. Terra Incognita 72: 8-18. (July 2011) PDF

Karubian, J., V.L. Sork, T. Roorda, R. Durães, and T.B. Smith. 2010. Destination-based dispersal by the long-wattled umbrellabird Cephalopterus penduliger homogenizes genetic structure of a tropical palm. Molecular Ecology 19: 1745-1753. PDFCover Page

Karubian, J. 2010. Pompadours in the palms. Natural History Magazine. 119: 28-32. (February 2010) PDF

Karubian, J. 2009. The secret life of the Long-wattled Umbrellabird. El Commercio Newspaper, Ecuador (May 10, 2009) PDF

Karubian, J. and R. Durães. 2009. Effects of seed disperser social behavior on patterns of seed movement and deposition Oecologia Brasiliensis 13(1): 45-57. PDF

Karubian, J. and L. Carrasco. 2008. Home range and habitat preferences of the Banded Ground-cuckoo Neomorphus radiolosus. Wilson Journal of Ornithology 120:205-209. PDF

Carrasco, L., A. Cook, and J. Karubian. 2008. Range extensions for eight species of bird in the Mache-Chindul mountains, Ecuador. Cotinga 29:72-76. PDF

Karubian, J., L. Carrasco, D. Cabrera, A. Cook, and J. Olivo. 2007. Nesting biology of the banded-ground cuckoo. Wilson Journal of Ornithology 119(2):222-228. PDF

Karubian, J., J. Fabarra, D. Yunes, J. Jorgenson, D. Romo, and T.B. Smith. 2005. Temporal and spatial patterns of macaw abundance in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Condor 107(3):617-626. PDF

Karubian, J., G. Casteneda, J.F. Freile, T. Santander, and T.B. Smith. 2003. Breeding biology and nesting behavior of the long-wattled umbrellabird Cephalopterus penduliger in northwestern Ecuador. Bird Conservation International 13:351-360. PDF