Day 6: May 20th 2018, Las Cuevas
This morning we started bird watching again at 5:30. We saw a toucan, Oropendola, and 2 new parrots (the White-fronted parrots). We also heard howler monkeys calling tis morning, but they were likely about 2 miles away as the call was very faint. After breakfast, we tarted data collection for our second project. As we collected our urine and water traps, we observed some interesting fauna. A Mexican Tree Frog hopped right in front of us on the path. We also saw a smooth anole which tried to bite Professor Solomon and me to no avail. Anoles appears to be feisty towards me.
After we collected the urine and water traps, we organized the contents into categories like beetles, arachnids, etc. We all then specialized in a particular type of organism and then identified different species using the morphospecies concept which involved using physical characteristics to classify organisms. We then determine the number of different morphospecies present in each vial of each plot and allocate the average species richness of ground water, ground urine, canopy water, and canopy urine. We we analyzed our data we found that there was an 8x greater arthropod average species richness in the ground water vs. the canopy water, a 2x greater arthropod average species richness in the canopy urine than the canopy water, and a 1.5x greater arthropod average species richness in the ground urine vs the canopy.
Rain break! It started to poor at the station and we all became officially officially inducted as TBFs by getting rained on in the rainforest. It was a satisfying break from the heat and humidity…. Aaaand back to work.
What we concluded was that there are more arthropods on the ground rather than in the water. We also concluded that nitrogen is a limiting nutrient in both the canopy and the ground, but it is. Greater limiting nutrient in the canopy rather than the ground. We presented our finding to Professor Solomon and a new group of students that had just arrived from University of Southern Mississippi. The it was already dinner time. We had chicken, beans, slaw, and tortillas. To wrap up the day was lectures on Mammals, Reptiles, and Tropical Parasites, Diseases, and Medicinal Plants. As we were getting ready for bed we found a black scorpion and another small anole. Every time I got near it or touched it, it freaked out and thrashing in our hands, but apparently it was fine with everyone else. I guess anoles just don’t like me. That fine, I don’t have to like them either then.