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UNCW to Open Research Station in Ecuador

By Jennifer Montague

02-24-11 – Researchers often travel a long distance to gather information.

For UNCW professor Brian Arbogast and his graduate students, that can sometimes mean a 2,400-mile trek to the lush rainforests of Ecuador.

A collaboration between Arbogast and South Carolina's Francis Marion University has resulted in the construction of a biological research station in the eastern foothills of the Ecuadorean Andes.

Arbogast says that, using camera traps, his students have already discovered that this area is home to a number of elusive wild cats, including pumas, ocelots, and another type known as the jagarundi.

"We photographed our first confirmed photograph of what is called a jagarundi, which is in the same genus as the puma, but they are shorter, they are dark brown, and a lot more squat and stout and not as big as a puma."

Arbogast envisions the research station as an interdisciplinary site, so that students from other fields, such as film studies, history and health sciences can also have a hands-on, cultural experience.

Learn more about the Wildsumaco Wildlife Sanctuary in Ecuador.

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