Book Details Findings From Field Courses in Amazon

A Field Guide to the Amazon Fishes of Loreto, Peru, a new book by SUNY Cobleskill students and faculty, details the dozens of fish species encountered on two field-study trips to the Amazon. With photos, physical descriptions, and biological information for each fish, the book is a field guide to the aquatic life of a specific corner of the Amazon River basin.

In 2014 and 2016, the class “The Ecology of the Peruvian Amazon” took students to the Otorongo Expeditions Lodge in Northeast Peru. The lodge is owned by Anthony Giardenelli, an alumnus of the SUNY Cobleskill Department of Fisheries, Wildlife and Environmental Sciences, who runs it with his family.

On the two-week trips, students learned firsthand about the ecological diversity of the Peruvian rainforest and Amazon River basin with Giardenelli and Professors Mark Cornwell and Andrew Gascho-Landis as guides. They collected samples using mesh seines, conventional angling, and cast nets in habitat that ranged from ponds to black water tributaries and the main Amazon River channel.



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Sample pages from A Field Guide to the Amazon Fishes of Loreto, Peru

Written by Cornwell and students Matthew J. Best and Joseph B. Casscles, the field guide is meant to provide students traveling to the area with an improved understanding of the unusual fish species in the area. It is not meant to be a complete catalogue, according to the authors. The book is available online here:

“The SUNY Cobleskill Amazon trip was a life changing adventure and with this field guide we attempt to catalog the fish we encountered in this part of the enormous Amazon River basin,” Cornwell said. “Co-authors Matt Best and Ben Casscles capture the Amazon fish in original pictures to bring the experience out of the jungle to you.”

The trips also included visits to ruins on the Pacific Coast of the country, Amazonian villages, farms, a manatee rescue center, and the Alpahuayo Mishana national reserve. The next trip is being planned for 2018.

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