Friday, July 22, 2011

Back at INBio…

CrystalFrom Frazier:
Costa Rica has been a blast! From collecting beetles in pristine rainforest to relaxing outside Kiri Lodge on a warm tropical night, Costa Rica has exceeded my expectations for an international expedition. Firstly, all the people we came into contact with were pleasant, generous people who were always eager to help regardless of our lack language skills. I am very impressed by the Costa Rican people (especially Laura our hostess from Kiri Lodge) and their geniality has added immensely to our overall experience

Secondly, the country itself is beautiful with its misty mountains and luscious rainforests. Our week in Tapanti National Park gave us a glimpse of the diverse fauna and flora that makes this country so ideal for research. Lastly, our collaborators from the Universities of Delaware and Costa Rica were all excellent, amiable researchers. The graduate students from Delaware were always ready to help me with identifications and their jovial dispositions made the trip very entertaining. Despite our lack of communication, the students from Costa Rica helped us set-up traps and collect while their advisor, Monika, was perhaps the most helpful and likable person we encountered during our trip. My time in Costa Rica has been the most memorable trip I’ve experienced and I can say with certainty that I will return to this halcyon country.  

From Clay:
The Epiblog
I know it sounds cliché, but it’s hard to believe how fast the last two weeks have gone by.  I have made plenty of memories:  from wading across the Rio Orosi, to scrambling around rock seeps in search of Oocylcus, to humming the Jurassic Park theme with Frazier as we bounced along in the back of a pickup as it hurtled through the rainforest.  I know I will never forget my time here in Costa Rica.  I left the United States, a young, naïve gringo, and soon I will return a slightly older, ruggedly unshaven, moderately less naïve gringo who has had some of the coolest experiences of his life. 

Eve of departure
End of an experience
Soon I will return

Friday, July 8, 2011

Heading to Costa Rica

In two days, the first half of our group will leave for San Jose, with the rest following two days later. This particular trip serves a number of purposes: first and foremost, we will be continuing survey efforts for aquatic insects at a mid-elevation pristine cloud forest…we do this to both help with an overall inventory of Costa Rica’s biodiversity, but also to understand how insects and water quality are related. Second, it will give a range of students experience in the field — some for the first time — and so is a ‘training’ trip of sorts. Third, we are eager to start new collaborations with the University of Costa Rica, and this trip will allow us to hash out some ideas for future work while we conduct this fieldwork together.

Our first stop and ‘base of operations’ for the start and end of the trip will be Costa Rica’s Insituto Nacional de Biodiversidad (INBio), or National Biodiversity Institute. I have had the pleasure of collaborating with INBio in for the last eight years (this also happens to be my eighth trip to the country). In addition to conducting and assisting with biodiversity research throughout the country, they house most of the Costa Rica’s biological heritage in the form of millions of specimens and their data.