Today was a full day of getting trap sites established and the traps up. We started the day (at a relatively ‘late’ 7:30), with the first order of business being a brief meeting with the park superintendant to review our planned schedule and activities. The UCR crew and some of my students worked a nearby stream for aquatic insects, while the rest of the group went deep into the park (in areas tourists can’t go due to safely concerns) to set up some flight intercept traps. Because of the steep mountainsides and rain, landslides and tree-falls that block the road are frequent hazards, and we can only work this area in the mornings when the threat of rain is low. The inner areas of the park are primary forest, while the first 3-4 kilometers are secondary forest (about 80 years old), and one of the goals is to see if there are differences in the fauna of these two types of forest. In the afternoon, Taro took some of the undergraduates out to sift litter. The Delaware contingent spent the day scouring vegetation along the main trails for their study groups.
Upon arriving in Tapanti, I have been stunned by the sheer beauty of the surrounding rainforest. I began yesterday by joining Crystal in her collecting ventures, leading me to a small stream just outside Kiri Lodge. The scenic rivulet was draped by a plethora of vegetation containing moss-covered trees, vines, and other beautiful plants. I’ve seen many pictures of the tropics in books and magazines but these images pale in comparison to a first-hand experience. The forest contains an immense array of sights, sounds, and scents that would take more than a week’s time to fully appreciate. My short time here has me eager for more of this country’s beautiful natural treasures.
The Biodiversity Institute is home to about 60 graduate students and 30 research scientists and curators. They participate in field expeditions to all seven continents and represent areas such as entomology, ornithology, paleontology, parasitology and herpetology. As the authors of this blog, they share their experiences and adventures in collections-based biological research all over the world.
Go to Fieldnotes home page.