Ecology and Biological Inventory Project of Van Cortlandt Park


On Saturday, October 6, the MSNH joined Christian Liriano and Dr. Pío Colemanares for a walk in Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx as part of a biological inventory project to document all species and understand the ecology of the park. Pío provided us with an overview on how ecological studies work, highlighting his experience studying harvestmen communities in the Brazilian Amazon. Christian told us more about the ongoing collaborative research happening specifically in Van Cortlandt, including using pitfall traps to see what arthropods inhabit the park.

To view more photos from this event, visit our gallery. All photo credit goes to Stephanie Loria.



Christian Liriano is an independent field biologist and volunteer/researcher at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH). At AMNH, he helps care for the arachnid collection and is involved with several projects including, comparative morphology of weevils and the taxonomy of tropical American harvestmen. His other interests include habitat ecology and the taxonomy of understudied organisms from northeastern North America (e.g, beetles, bryophytes) and comparative community and ecosystem ecology of rural and urban systems. Christian will continue with his studies at the College of Staten Island in the spring of 2019.


Dr. Pío Colmenares is an arachnologist at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) with experience in taxonomy and ecology. His main research interests are the taxonomy, systematics, ecology, conservation and biogeography of Opiliones. He also has experience with other arachnid orders, such as Amblypygi, Schizomida and Solifugae. Pío joined the AMNH staff in 2016 and is currently in charge of the Arachnid (non-Araneae) and Myriapod Collections.
 Pío received his undergraduate degree in biology in 2008, from the University of Zulia in Maracaibo, Venezuela. Upon graduating, he also worked in the Biodiversity Unit at the Instituto Venezolano de Investigaciones Científicas in Caracas, Venezuela. In 2009, he studied at the National Museum of Natural History of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., where he received training in curatorial techniques and management of various natural history collections. In 2015, Pío defended his doctoral thesis on Amazonian Harvestmen communities at the Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia in Manaus, Brazil.