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26/3/2009
Iberá Fieldtrip
2008 IB Project

In the centre of the province of Corrientes lie 15000 km2 of wetlands called Iberá. Iberá is a national reserve.  The huge amount of rainfall combined with the low pitch makes these esteros a water dominated environment. This enormous wetland area consists of marshes, rivers, ponds and lakes. The diversity of life in Iberá is amazing. There are over 350 species of birds, alligators, lots of snakes, carpinchos, monkeys, and many more. It is amazing how you can see wild life everywhere!

Some species from the Iberá area have become extinct and others are endangered (the ant-eater is extinct, and so is the yaguareté).

 

During our stay there, we did several activities. 

The first day we went on a 2 hour tour of the wetlands in boats; sometimes we had to clear our way through the wetlands, due to floating islands that were brought by the wind.  We saw many yacarés and capybaras (carpinchos) and we eventually captured a pit viper (anaconda), that was 3 and a half meters long.

The next day, we went horseback riding through the esteros.  We rode around and even through lakes, seeing a great variety of birds such as the ñandu, as well as crocodiles and capybaras.

Moreover, we visited the Yaciretá Dam which provides 15% of the energy used in Argentina.  It is a gigantic construction located in the Paraná River between 3 islands, one belonging to Paraguay and two to Argentina. Under great pressure, water flows through the 20 turbines, which when they move to generate energy (3000 MV).

The field work was part of the IB group 4 project. We divided into 5 groups and each performed a different experiment and then regrouped to share the results. The main experiments we did were characterizing the area by taking quantitative data on the predominant vegetation, measuring the quantity of oxygen in the water to access its quality and, in addition, measuring the turbidity of water and its flow. We did many other experiments.  For some experiments we had to get in the water wearing special rubber suits, and immediately some caimanes approached us.  Afterwards, the owner of the estancia fed the alligators with some piranhas.    

At night, we observed the sky and, employing a computer program called Stellarium, were able to distinguish some constellations and planets.

 


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