One of our main goals, besides habitat restoration, environmental education and research, is to attract the Brazilian university community to perform research, teaching, workshops and educational activities at REGUA, profiting from its diverse habitats, support logistics and a safe environment to work. During the weekend of 21 – 24 May, REGUA received for the first time a team of 23 graduate students, four teachers and a driver from UFRJ (Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro). The goal was to perform Entomologia I discipline field ecology classes, with some sampling techniques practical training in different types of habitat.
Initial contact was made through Dr. José Ricardo Mermudez, a specialist on Coleoptera (especially the Anthribidae family), who visited REGUA previously to see conditions in loco, support logistics and suitable local spots for the field activities with his students. For receiving this group, REGUA speeded up the acquisition of 23 chairs for the new laboratory, and the UFRJ crew just brought in their gear for practical classes.
On the first day the students learned how to sample litter soil fauna. They sampled three different habitats: moist forest soil, open forest border and pasture. The following days, the group headed for the São José Trail, with its magnificent forest patches, to survey aquatic arthropods in the Rio do Gato waterfalls and rapids. That night, a light trap was set and the students made turns every hour during the night, counting the all the insects that landed on the sheath, attracted by the mercury vapor bulbs.
Food was plenty and widely appreciated (university students do eat a lot) and in the evening some talents showed up spontaneously – in a typical carioca setting – as a band of percussionist, cavaquinho and guitar for some samba and chorinho playing, quite appreciated by the volunteers that happily joined the band. Everybody went home quite satisfied and at least two students want to submit their research project for Md in REGUA, dealing with two Coleoptera families. This will be the first time this important insect order will be sampled in REGUA.