Research projects

Long-Term Monitoring by the LUQ-LTER

The Luquillo LTER monitors several variables on a long-term basis to assess natural patterns and changes due to hurricanes and other disturbances. Among those variables are climate, flowering and fruiting phenology of common trees, stream water chemistry and discharge, and animal populations (shrimp, coqui, lizards, snails, insects).

Luquillo Forest Dynamics Plot (LFDP)

The LFDP was marked and set aside as a long-term forest dynamics plot in 1990.  Its dimensions are 500 x 320 m or 16 hectares. The plot is routinely monitored to assess populations of shrubs, trees, and animals, investigate natural disturbance patterns and land-use legacies, and understand changes in tree community composition and diversity.  Periodic censuses of plants, animals, and environmental conditions are the only activities allowed within the plot.

Click here to obtain information about conducting research in the LFDP.

Click here to obtain information about research internships associated with the LFDP.

The Canopy Trimming Experiment

The CTE actually consists of two experiments—one on mechanisms of resilience to hurricanes and one on impacts of more frequent hurricanes. The first experiment focuses on a key process in resilience: post-hurricane decomposition, which is affected by the change in microclimate when the canopy is opened, by the deposition of canopy debris on the forest floor, and by the activity of various organisms that feed on the debris. The treatments are designed to separate and quantify the effects of these factors.

Coqui (Eleutherodactylus) Monitoring Area

This is the longest monitoring site for Eleutherodactylus in the world.

Forest Productivity at East Peak


Forest Tree Phenology


Stream Ecology

Spatial and temporal patterns of abundances for coexisting species: different intensities and frequencies of disturbances can alter spatial and temporal patterns of abundances for coexisting species. To determine if these different hydrologic regimes altered distributions of populations, we compared shrimp densities during different periods of time. There were significant differences in the relationships between locations of stream pools along an elevational gradient (300 to 470 m) and the abundances of two species of shrimp (Atya lanipes and Xiphocaris elongata) during different periods of disturbance.

Francisco Perez,
Oct 11, 2011, 10:08 AM