Ranomafana (10.01.2013 to 12.31.2013)

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Year: 
2013
Quarter: 
October - December
Communications activities: 

Lecture on TEAM (Tropical Ecology Assessment and monitoring) objectives, methodology, and partial field results to the Stony Brook University Study Abroad at “Namanabe Hall” of Centre ValBio Ranomafana.

Presentation on TEAM in Madagascar and the development of the biodiversity conservation research was also given to visitors at Centre ValBio Ranomafana.

Advising and Supporting student work for DTS preparation and defense at ISTE (Higher Institutes for Environment Techniques) University of Fianarantsoa, Madagascar

During this quarter, meeting were held between CI Madagascar - TEAM Ranomafana and the Meteorology Central Service, for discussing and envisaging potential future collaboration for climate station registration and potential incorporation of the climate station data within the national data.  Meeting was also held with MBG for field voucher specimen technique and work planning

Unusual Events at the TEAM Site: 

At the vegetation plot # 1 in Andemaka, the team had some difficulties in following the rank emplacement of the recorded plant species, because the tree tag numbers were mixed up.  There might have been someone who had spent times to move around some of the tree tags within the plot.  With the expertise of the botany team on local tree taxonomy, however, they discovered and fixed the issues on time.

There was also an unusual lightning, which lead to a burning of a limited space of vegetation, occurring not too far from the vegetation plot at Andemaka (plot 1) in the northern part of Ranomafana National Park.

New Species: 

None

Protocol Activities: 

Vegetation

Field expedition began with plot 5 (Maharira) within the southern part of Ranomafana National Park on October 31st 2013.  After that, vegetation monitoring expedition continued with plot 6, at Mangevo from November 19th to December 06th.  Then, the joint-expedition Andemaka – Bevoahazo (plot 1 and 2) have been gathering two-plot vegetation monitoring data from December 09th to January 11.  All plot tree DBH were measured along with some of the plant and habitat parameters, such as abundance, density, canopy cover, and habitat characteristics.  Previously unknown plot trees were sampled, preferably with their vegetative and reproductive parts, for future voucher specimen identification.  Laboratory preparation of collected voucher specimens has been started.

 

 

Terrestrial Vertebrates

This year, due to the late start of the monitoring year, we adopted a two camera trap field crews.  The two field crews have been working separately in parallel, each within half of an array.  Field expedition had started within area the furthest and having the most difficult access (more rivers and steep paths) of Ranomafana National Park to avoid field expedition under unfavorable weather condition during the upcoming rainy season.  From October 31th to November 11th, the terrestrial vertebrates monitoring started with the camera trap set up within array three (3) (Andemaka and Bevoahazo) in the northern part of Ranomafana TEAM site.  After deployed for thirty days, camera traps had been picked up from December 01st to 11th.  Monitoring continued with expedition to Mangevo and Maharira at array 2, with camera trap set up from December 14th to 24th.  All cameras have been deploying for thirty days from now and to January 2014, and are still in the field.   So far, photos from camera traps at array 3 (Andemaka and Bevoahazo) have been entered into the DeskTEAM and are in the process of being annotated.

 

Climate

Regular Climate Station monitoring has been conducting with the monthly data collection and bi-weekly station maintenance.  Monthly climate data have been uploaded to TEAM web portal.  Even though, most of the climate equipments have been working perfectly, one of the Temperature / Relative humidity sensors has not given normal reading.  We had followed different advices from the Headquarters but it has still not been working normally.  So, our plan is to send this equipment to the Campbell Company for re-calibration.  We also received new climate equipment (HC2-S3 Temperature/RH Sensor, Passive radiation Shield, etc…) for the station updating from CI.  However, we did not have the specific cable (cable RS-232 to USB) for installing the equipment, and we are now still in search of this.

During this quarter, there was less fluctuation in relative humidity and a slight increase of the average temperature with a high of 28.62°C in December 2013.  The rain fall was also found increased with a daily maximum over 8.13 mm in December 2013.

Protocol Problems: 

None

Schedule Problems: 

Awaited for the TEAM contract to be signed, field planning expedition was delayed this year.  Planned “Personnel scheduler” had to be revised several times.

Logistical Problems: 

None

Suggestions: 

It would be great if the field work/expedition could start right after aprobation of the yearly budget and the field planning.