Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Placement, Presentations and Protocol

Week 8 is looming upon us, only 2 weeks left of phase 111. We have had an exciting start to the second half of phase with many snake sightings. Like the coral snakes that we found on base to the bird-eating snake that myself and the new 5 weekers encountered on the north trail. It puffed up half its body as a warning to us and slithered off rapidly around a tree.

We have had an explosion of juvenile olive-snouted treefrogs (photo above) found on all the forest trails and many red-eyed treefrogs (adult and juvenile) and scarlet-webbed treefrogs (see next photo below) on both day and night surveys. Volunteers have been busy leading surveys. Biodiversity assessment surveys, jaguar track check and forest night walks have all been lead by those completing their BTECs.

One of the assignments for the BTEC in Biological Survey Techniques is to ID a minimum of 10 species. These can include birds reptiles amphibians and mammals. Many volunteers have already achieved their 10 species, with 3 weeks left. Some volunteers have included amphibian IDs using taxonomic keys. I recently gave a presentation on this subject to introduce the method to the new 5 weekers and those finding it difficult to use the keys. I also included a large diagram of frog parts to explain the technical terms used (see photo below).

We have been treated to intern presentations on a weekly basis, including Ruth giving us a fascinating insight into wolves this week and also Brian’s compelling presentation on energy consumption. Previous presentations have included Sam’s on insects, Dave W’s on the Sea Eagle, Hannah’s on edible plants, Dave H’s on geographic variation, Rich K’s on chromatophores and Stu’s on evolution.
In other news, the much anticipated first dead turtle of the year was found yesterday (well, unfortunate for the turtle, don’t get me wrong, but with great new data collection opportunities for us). It was a green turtle and had been predated by a jaguar and was deep in the vegetation. Story to follow!

Melissa Errington

Species Mentioned
• Central American Coral Snake – Micrurus nigrocinctus
• Bird-eating Snake – Pseustes poecilonotus
• Olive-snouted Treefrog – Scinax elaeochroa
• Red-eyed Treefrog – Agalychnis callidryas
• Scarlet-webbed Treefrog – Hyla rufitela
• Jaguar – Panthera onca
• Green Turtle – Chelonia mydas