Reflection on Summer Bridge’s study trips to El Yunque Tropical Forest and Guánica’s Dry Forest. By: Angélica M. González Sánchez After visiting El Yunque National Pluvial Forest and the Guánica Dry Forest we candetermine that the differences between these two ecosystems are drastically evident. Accordingto our inquire and as shown by the soil’s condition as well as by the organisms’ adaptations,while El Yunque receives about 200 inches of water per year, the Guánica Dry Forest remainswith less than 30 inches.We can conclude that this is caused by their different geographicallocations and altitude. By our experience on both ecosystems, we can determine that thehumidity in El Yunque is a lot higher than in Guánica, while the temperature is lower in thePluvial Forest; unfortunately we didn’t have quantitative data from Guánicaon these topics tocompare. Because of the qualitative evidence shown by the adaptations of plants on both forests,we can also deliberate that evolutionary variations result from adjustments of the organisms totheir environmental requirements. We could observe the evident differences between thevariations of the vegetation that have resulted from natural selection: in El Yunque, most of theplants were taller, leafier and had bigger leaves, while in Guánica Dry Forest the plants hadsmaller, fewer leaves and were lower. As we can see, the survival conditions of the organismsare directly related to the conditions of their habitat. According to our observations, some otherfactors, such as the pH, the wind velocity, the competition of other organisms in the area, thedifferent reproduction cycles, between others also seem to affect the organisms’ variationsaccording. While comparing the data collecting methods used on both expeditions we canconclude that they are very different from each other, but that they both reached their inquireobjectives very well. As a group, we would recommend to use the same research techniques onboth forests because that way it would be easier and more effective to compare the obtainedfacts. In conclusion, we would say that this trips were enriching experiences because theyallowed us to see some of the natural resources of our Island form both a tourist and a scientificperspective. From my point of view, our trip to El Yunque Tropical Forest was a remarkableexperience to our lives. Just the fact that we walked so much to go to the top of the mountain andthe view at the top of it was something outstanding. By taking samples of the soil and makingmeasurements we learned new techniques on how to take nature samples such as the pH of thesoil, the humidity, the velocity of the wind in that area and many other things. Our objective wasto experiment the feeling of going to a tropical forest and introducing ourselves to sampling, andwe certainly reached them. We were also capable of observing the great multiplicity of creaturesthat live in this huge forest, as well as their exceptional adaptations and how, mostly because ofmen, these adaptations haven’t been enough to make them survive, making them become
endangered species. Because of all these, this trip was a unique experience for our scientificlives. In our trip to Guánica’s Dry Forest was a very particular trip. Since we got on the bus, westarted learning a lot about the forest, for what I can say that we filled ourselves with knowledgeabout it. Once in the forest, we started getting a tour in it and learning about all the plants,especially about the mellow cactucs and the agave. The most interesting thing that I learnedabout these plants was the special adaptations that they have to survive in this arid ecosystem,such as their thorns. After our tour through the forest, we started making two types of samplingwhich resulted innovative to me. These were line transect and line transect. Both of thesesamples resulted quite appealing because the allowed us to concretely observe the organisms ofthe forest. It really amazed me all the diversity found in the forest despite its hard survivalconditions. These two fieldtrips were amazing and unforgettable. Acknowledging that all these thingsthat we did and learned will be useful and constructive for a near future it’s even a biggersatisfaction that we get from these trips. Also, the techniques learned will be very helpful forfuture studies. From these trips we were able to realize, once again, that the beauty and wondersof our island are beyond description and how unfortunate it is that people are damaging anddestroying them.