Marcelo’s Biography

My sampling method included 150 live traps to capture the small mammals. These were baited with slices of bananas and peanut butter—the animals love it! I did 8 day sampling, which normally meant staying 12 to 15 days in the field. The frogs were hand-captured after isolating a 5m by 5m plot with plastic mesh. We did a total of 160 plots for the frogs. Even though there is a typical low abundance of animals around this stretch of the Amazon, we collected enough data to say that these so-called linear remnants actually can serve as corridors and so have high conservation value.

It is really rough work—after all, it is a jungle out there! But it’s worthwhile, too. Even though the camp conditions are not ideal—there’s no cable TV around—the food is not that bad and we have a chance at seeing interesting and unique things. For example, trees so enormous that it takes more than six people to completely embrace the trunk ...Flowers and fruits of really different and intense colors and forms ...Sounds of different pitches and volumes that can seem as beautiful as a melody or scare you to death! Howler monkeys in particular make the most impressive sounds, especially in the middle of the night! The unadvised visitor might think they were a very dangerous animal from listening to the howls.

Speaking of real dangerous animals, jaguars (Panthera onca), too, can also often be heard. They will hardly even attack a human, but people around here who have had some close encounters with either the jaguars or the pumas (Puma concolor) say that it is a very terrifying experience. I had my own close encounter once, seeing a jaguar on the dirt road which leads to one of the research camps. I was driving my car when my field assistant told me to stop and see what was in front of us about 40 meters from the car. I just couldn’t believe it! My eyes flooded because it was so beautiful even at that distance. It apparently didn’t care about us; it just looked back and strolled into the forest.

Marcelo’s Interviews Marcelo’s Biography    1     2     3