Summer OTS Tropical Biology graduate Course 2015! This time just flew away so fast. I want first to say thank you to everybody in the group, you all are amazing! I learnt with you and from you a lot! I am sure we will meet each other at some point again.
I am from Cusco- Peru. A megadiverse place in the world. However, Costa Rica has captured my attention. It is a beautiful country and I want to share my impression of my some of my favorite places.
Braulio Carrillo National Park extends down to La Selva through a forest corridor that descends in elevation from 2,906 meters at Volcán Barva to 35 meters above sea level at La Selva!
It is one of the more useful places in the world for researchers. Tons of studies come from this place. Actually over 240 scientific papers are published yearly.
So this is a tropical forest and this may be the reason that it is my favorite place! Tropical forests are very diverse and this is not an exception! 5,000 species of vascular plants, of which more than 700 species are trees….Yeah plants! Plants! Many plants! Yeah this is my main interest: plant community assembly!
However, in this plant community world, animals have a big role as predators or dispersers, etc… So I need to tell you something about animals. I read some years ago about it in a natural history book but now my first time in Costa Rica, I saw it! So, the animals that call my attention at la Selva were the howler monkeys!! I almost say red howler monkey because I am used to that in Peru! See the picture below! Yeah both of them are Howler monkeys! Both of them to my ears sounds the same when they howl in the morning or when is raining! They are amazing! The red one is from Peru in Manu National Park and the second one is from La Selva Biological Station. This also happens with spider monkeys, but backwards! They are black in Peru and reddish here in Costa Rica. In the case of capuchin monkey they are the same in both places.
Another important thing that I learnt being at la Selva is how much science communication matters in the workshop that we had there. It was just a start and I know that we need to improve this skill because it is how we can share with regular people all over the world why it is important to conserve the forest and why we are studying all these different things. They cannot care for and understand it if we do not try to explain why we love it. So I am so excited to be learning it!!
2. Cuerici biological Reserve: The lovely mountain!
This is a mandatory place if you are visiting Costa Rica! At 2600 m is the Oak cloud forest. This is an exceptional forest, where there are many ecological questions to be explored! This is a place with huge diversity of fungi and lichens that you can see posted below on this blog! What I found impressive is the slow rate of decomposition that this forest has. We saw trees that fell down many years ago (Don Carlos has the register about when they fell down) and they are still in good condition. Ecological processes happens differently in the more regularly studied tropical forests like La Selva Biological Station.
3. Cabo Blanco. Let’s go to the beach!
It is an absolute Natural Reserve in the Nicoya Peninsula. This is one of the first protected areas and National Park in Costa Rica. It has a majestic forest scene contrasting with the pacific ocean. It is classified as moist tropical forest and we found some Ceiba trees that were very impressive. What I found interesting is the crabs (Gecarcinus cuadratus) that act as herbivores of seedlings of this forest!
Pura Vida! Tuanes mae!!