I just came back from a sampling trip across various counties west of Austin for my summer research project. I’m still a little worn out from my trip, but I know once we land in Belize City, I’ll forget about that completely and will be ready to immerse myself into tropical field biology.
I expect our trip to be physically demanding, but it will be totally worth it once we get to see a scarlet macaw in person (hopefully) and are snorkeling next to parrot fish. I also expect to get a good feel of what field work is like, and also to experience a day (or two weeks) in the life of a scientist living at a research station.
Since I’m applying to graduate school next semester, I really value these opportunities because it may (hopefully) help me narrow down (or even choose!) what narrower field of EBIO I want to study, as well as potentially answer questions like if I prefer field work over laboratory work or vice versa. I have prepared by reading all the required readings and researching my taxons (trees and herbivorous fish). I think my sampling trip last week may have also prepared me for the long hours out in the field.
I’m not really nervous about anything except the airplane ride, because I really hate airplanes. I am most excited to see rare species up close (ish) like the scarlet macaws and colorful parrotfish I talked about.
I have previously visited Colombia, which is mostly tropical. I spend my time there hiking through the Andes and looking at agricultural products that my grandpa grows, such as coffee, avocado and cacao trees. Overall, I am just really excited about being able to spend a whole two weeks in one of the most diverse and beautiful parts of the world while doing science. Best combination ever.