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OTS Facilitates Research

Featuring Gordon Orians, PhD
© Wim de Groot View Large

The Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS) operates three field research stations in Costa Rica: one in a very wet forest on the Atlantic coastal plain; another near the Pacific Ocean where there’s a long dry season; and the third, near Panama at mid-elevation. Dr. Gordon Orians, a past president of the organization, discusses examples of groundbreaking OTS research and findings, including the fragility of the tropics and the important role of fruit-eating birds like this Chestnut-mandibled Toucan.

Full Transcript

Transcript: 

BirdNote®

Research Facilitated by The Organization for Tropical Studies

Featuring Gordon Orians, Ph.D.

Interview by Todd Peterson

This is BirdNote.

[Song of Montezuma Oropendola] 

The Organization for Tropical Studies or OTS operates three field research stations in Costa Rica: one in a very wet forest on the Atlantic coastal plain; another near the Pacific Ocean where there’s a long dry season [song of Great Kiskadee]; and the third, near Panama at mid-elevation.  We asked Dr. Gordon Orians, a past president of the organization, for examples of groundbreaking OTS research and findings:

“One of the themes is the role of fruits and fruit-eating. In the tropics, we have a large number of bird species that are obligate fruit-eaters, that’s they eat nothing but fruits…their entire lives are dependent upon them. And unlike our temperate-zone forests, nearly all of the trees have bird-dispersed fruits and seeds. So the trees are dependent upon the birds.”

[Call of Chestnut-mandibled Toucan, a fruit-eating tropical bird] 

“A second thing that I would point out is that the tropics turn out to be more fragile than we might imagine. People go down there and it looks lush and green all the time, but slight changes in temperature can be a big effect in the tropics. The tropics are not warming as much as high latitudes are, but even a little bit of warming can make a huge difference because the temperatures are so constant in the tropics. And what we’re realizing is that many tropical organisms have very narrow thermal tolerances. Very slight changes in temperature make a big deal.” 

[Song of Montezuma Oropendola]

You’ll find more to this story at birdnote.org. [Song of Great Kiskadee]

###

Bird sounds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York.  Song of Montezuma Oropendola [89453] recorded by C.A. Marantz; call of Chestnut-mandibled Toucan [57364] and calls and songs of Great Kiskadee [165021] recorded by D.L.Ross. 

Ambient drawn from [72644] recorded in Costa Rica by D.L.Ross.

BirdNote’s theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.

Producer: John Kessler

Executive Producer: Chris Peterson

© 2013 Tune In to Nature.org    June 2013   Narrator: Mary McCann

ID#  ots-01-2013-06-20 ots-02 

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