Jan 1: A Hot Start to the New Decade

Highlights of Day 3:

We woke up early on this surprisingly chilly morning to the first day of the new year and decade. After breakfast and preparations for the day, we conducted more Gentry transects, which are used to quantify plant species richness and abundance by identifying each species of tree with a DBH greater than 10 cm on a transect of 25 m. This standardized method allows us to compare the diversity of plant life across the ecosystems we visit. After our morning in the field, the insect, bird, and plant groups worked to identify their samples in the lab.

After a joyous lunch filled with coati, iguana, and howler monkey sightings, we took advantage of the low tide to escape the midday heat and went snorkeling in the lagoon. After trekking out over sharp rocks in the hot sun, it felt amazing to slide into the water and immediately see an orange spotted eel. The rest of the afternoon was spent in the lab working on group projects and a lecture on R, a statistical software commonly used in the field of ecology. It is exciting to learn R, as most undergraduates are not given the opportunity.

Everyone was in high spirits during dinner. The food was good and the company even better, a scorpion was spotted, and Eddie and the kids said their goodbyes to the class. Afterwards, we once again divided into groups to work on our projects, followed by a peaceful excursion to the beach to stargaze. The night ended with a serenade by Sierra singing her hit single “Chocolate Covered Mountains” featuring Davi on the guitar, accompanied by Megan H. and Lydia as background dancers. Pura vida!

Rose & Thorn:

Rose- Observing baby howler monkeys and their families hanging in the beautiful fig tree outside the comedor (dining area).

Thorn- Biting ants invading the boys’ room (ouch!)

Vibe of the day: Pura vida.

Quote of the day:

“Sierra, no offense but you look like someone who would be dumb but isn’t.” -Santiago (Professor’s son)

Scientist Spotlight: Lindsay McCulloch (Course TA)

Favorite childhood memory in nature?

Camping in the Adirondacks. We hiked two of the high peaks.

Why did you want to come to Costa Rica?

I like the humidity, the gallo pinto, the diversity of the forest and the size of the trees, and the calm chaos of the forest.

Dream job?

A professor at a small liberal arts school.

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