The Megadiverse Nature of Ecuador with Dr. Kelly Swing

The Megadiverse Nature of Ecuador with Dr. Kelly Swing


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Ecuador boasts the greatest concentration of species on the planet and is one of the best global destinations for nature lovers. We will explore why there are so many species in this small South American nation and survey a selection of iconic ecosystems. Come with us to survey the distinct regions of megadiverse Ecuador and discover how its natural wonders are distributed across this microcosm of the South American continent.

As a destination for nature tourism, Ecuador is known primarily for the Galapagos Islands and their faunal oddities - from giant tortoises and marine iguanas to tropical penguins and vampire finches - but the entire country offers more species in less space than any other on Earth. Real estate agents always talk about the importance of “location, location, location” and when it comes to species diversity, Ecuador’s position astride the equator in western South America is indeed the place where nature has most generously outdone itself. Stunningly varied landscapes - spanning from the wave-crashed rocky shores of the Pacific and dripping cloud forests perched on steep Andean slopes to snow-capped volcanos towering over the exuberant green carpet of lowland rainforests - have truly invited nature’s extreme diversification.

Led by an expert on the New World tropics, Kelly Swing, this interactive seminar will explore Ecuador’s heterogeneous ecosystems and associated living treasures. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased understanding of why there are so many species in this country as well as where to best find them.

Kelly Swing, a North American scientist specialized in tropical ecology, has lived permanently in Ecuador since 1991. Before that, his graduate studies for the M.S. and Ph.D. involved extensive research in the wilds of Bolivia andCosta Rica, respectively. He was Founding Director of the Tiputini Biodiversity Station for the Universidad San Francisco de Quito in AmazonianEcuador for 25 years and has taught nearly 200 field courses in various ecosystems of Ecuador over nearly 30 years, mostly for Boston University. Kelly has published widely in scientific journals, books and magazines. Interviews related to nature and its conservation with Dr. Swing have appeared on NBC, PBS Radio, CNN, CNN en Español, Al-Jazeera and BBC Radio; he has served as a consultant on many award-winning nature documentaries that have been broadcast by Animal Planet, Discovery Channel, PBS, BBC Nature, etc. His photographs from nature are published in scientific articles, books, magazines, conservation websites and museum blogs.

This conversation is suitable for all ages.

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

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