Jan 4: Field Work, Field Work, Field Work!

Highlights of Day 6

This morning marked two significant developments, 1) the quarantined individuals started to feel better and 2) the long awaited return of rice and beans at breakfast. All the groups got to work at a ~feverish~ pitch, with the plant people successfully completing all four of their transects by lunch. After lunch, the groups spent the evening grinding away at identification of their plants, insects, and birds. The insect group quickly realized that the number of insects they were collecting according to the protocol used previously at Cabo Blanco was not going to work here. The insect abundance in this wetter climate is just way too high! Meanwhile the plant group got a rude awakening to identifying plants in a tropical montane cloud forest — just because a leaf seems to be coming from a certain tree does not mean it actually comes from that tree. Each tree is so densely covered in other plants that figuring out which leaves belong to the tree of interest takes more than a few glances. 

After dinner a special guest, Emily Hollenbeck, talked about the impact of changing climate on epiphytic plants. In a huge study involving 40,000 plants, she transplanted epiphytes up and down elevation gradients on Costa Rican and Panama mountains, discovering that just 3 degrees temperature change would devastate epiphyte communities. This talk emphasized the dangers that climate change poses for tropical forests and reminded us of the importance of ecological research. We will definitely keep Emily’s talk in mind while studying the rest of our sites in Costa Rica.

Rose & Thorn

Rose Seeing a cute mouse in the lab

Thorn All around a chaotic day

Vibe of the Day: Storming

Quote of the Day:

“I feel like I’m in an alternate universe”- Cassie F.

Scientist Spotlight: Megan Martis (Senior at Colgate University, Astrogeophysics)

One favorite childhood memory in nature?

Walking to the beach and watching the sunset.

What have you enjoyed most about this trip so far?

The New Year’s Eve celebration was really fun!

Dream job?

Engineer 

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