Recently in student Category
Hector, Dr. Brown and I had many odd tasks to finish for the plant and habitat projects--so many that they took until 3:00ish to finish. HOBOs and marking tape needed to be collected along with soil samples.
Tomorrow, we will have the opportunity to volunteer with Proyecto Asis, a small organization dedicated to conservation and Costa Rican culture and community. I am looking forward to a new experience with a different type of conservation group.
This is a pictured taken this morning milking the cow that Chris and I have been helping with for the last couple days.
Today was a very busy day, but filled with lots of excitement. If you have already read Dr. B's blog than you would know that we got to release a sloth into the wild. One of the workers on the property, Enrique, found a sloth in his yard and brought it by Leaves and Lizards to release it to its proper place. We were surprised and over-joyed when he offered the task to us. Of course our answer was YES. Kelly got to carry her and I got to hold her as the sloth grabbed a vine and slowly worked his way up to her new home.
We just feel like this whole trip has been one excitement and priveledge after another. Never did we think we would be witnessing volcanic eruptions or release sloths back into the wild. What a lucky couple of chicas are we?
After releasing the sloth, we headed out to Orlando's forest, which is a property of private primary forest-basically minimal deforestation and tourist activity. Again another priveledge we got to partake it by hiking in it. With the hopes of seeing a Mot Mot, we entered the forest despite Kelly's outrageous fear of snakes (which this particular forest is full of). Our guide Oscar had promised to help find us a Mot Mot, as a bribe to convince Kelly to join us for the 3-4 mile hike. About half way through the hike, the much desired bird sound was heard- goes something like "hoop hoop or woo woo" . But this Mot Mot was just teasing us, for we hiked miles and miles to find him and ended up disapointed and Mot Mot-less. But we haven't given up yet. Kelly and I will not leave Tico Town until we see one.
Despite not having a Mot Mot in our data collection, all of our observations have been going great. We have seen a few new species at various points including the Lineated Woodpecker-great bird and really exciting to see on the property. This specific woodpecker is related to the Ivory Billed Woodpecker. Another interesting site we got to see today involved a dual between a Rufous Tailed Hummingbird and a Green Brested Mango Hummingbird. The fight went one for quite some time and seemed to be over a nesting spot. From what we could tell the Green Brested Mango was winning, probably due to a slightly bigger body than the Rufous Tailed.
After so much excitement and activity in one day, these chicas are ready to get some good sleep to be ready for our last day of data collection tomorrow!
Hello again from Kelly and Elise!!
Today was the most rainy day of all since our first day in the country, but that didn't stop us from working today. The rain stopped for few hours in the morning, and we were able to deploy some HOBO's (automatic temperature readers). We also did some more plant sampling. Our day ended with a warm dinner and a nice view of the volcano, Arenal.
Hector and I were able to start off running from the gate today, sampling 3/4 the number of quadrats we had sampled in 2008 in just one day. Our work will be cut out for us still, though, because we are now able to really begin sampling the property. Same goes for my own little project about biodiversity; after practicing twice today, I am feeling very capable of being able to establish a good baseline upon which further projects can build. More on this later, as the project really begins.
For now, it's bedtime for this old man before a long day again tomorrow.
After all the hassle yesterday, we are finally doing some real work in the field today. We were joking this morning during breakfast about having a tree that produce pancakes and a chicken that makes omelettes. Guess what? The tree really exists, la fruta pan, we found that in our first segment we sampled this morning, but we still looking for the chicken.
Tomorrow we'll do more exciting stuff starting by looking at more birds and then going back to sample more plants.
On the first day we plan to start in the monoculture area of the property to the east of the cabins, and then proceed to the ornamental around the cabins.
On the second day, we will cover Mixed areas M1 and M2 directly south of Teak area
Day three will cover Teak 2, Teak 3, Teak 4, and Patch 1.
Day four will be Teak 4, M3, Almendeo 1, P2 and P3.
We also hope to survey as much as the Sloth Valley area on the east side as possible by setting up quatrats around the permeter.
We have decided to specialize, and limit our sampling to the types of trees.
Tomorrow is the big day! We get together at 4am to depart Dallas!
Get some sleep!
We had our last classroom lecture today before we leave, which is TOMORROW!
Today we wrote our protocol describing our plans for our trip. Now that we have a good understanding of what we are going to do at our area of study, we can't wait to get started!
Dr. B just gave us some of our equipment today that we will be working with at our area of study. And now we just have to pack it all up along with our things excluding our straighteners and blow dryers...those won't be going to Tico Town with us. We both have to start the packing today when we go home. Hopefully our fully packed backpacks won't weigh more than us!
Wish us luck and pray that we stay safe and away from scorpions!
I have spent the last year-and-a-half at Loyola University Chicago. There I earned a B.S. in biology (emphasis in ecology) and picked up a minor in anthropology. But it was the course in 2008 that enkindled my love of field work, and directed my course choices while I was at Loyola. This process culminated with an acceptance to Columbia University's MA program in Conservation Biology.
This year, I hope to gain some valuable experience in a teaching element as well as lend my prior experience to this year's plant project. The biogeography and microhabitat study should prove a good learning experience. I look forward to getting back to the tropics and the place where I learned to love field biology.
Hello from Kelly and Elise!
Just got done with our first day of class and couldn't more excited about the trip.
We received our assignment today- BIRDS. We aren't quite sure what we are going to be doing yet, but we are definitely ready to learn. Two more days of classes and then it is off to Tico Town! We will keep ya'll posted.
I'll be working on the plant project this year. Our primary mission is to monitor plants for continuing conservation of the property.
Watch closely and you might spot some Univ.Dallas students!
The last day had a productive final round of sampling even with the frequent rain. Many new butterfly species were recorded including many individuals of a rather uncommon species typically only found in intact forest. Upon reviewing the notes and data for the butterflies the highest areas of diversity were, as expected, in the disturbed forest patches that did not have tree monocultures. The tree plantations especially the teak stands were very low in butterfly diversity. The butterflies of the teak areas were the most common species that were present to nectar on the lantana. The tiger pattern mimetic complex of Heliconians, Ithomiines, and a single Charaxinae was very well represented in the two main disturbed forest patches. For the ants diversity was greatest in the forest patch bordering bird points a-n. There were several dominant species of ground dwelling ants. Their dominance should lessen as the restoration process continues and the leaf litter becomes thicker. This gives less dominant species more available niches and microhabitats to live and forage in, and it makes it more difficult for dominant species, like the fire ant Solenopsis geminatta, to establish colonies.