June 9th, 2014 – Back to the Bosque Seco
I made my inevitable farewell to the therapeutic sands of Punta Prieta as we jumped out of the heat of the midday coastal sun and into the beating rays of Lalo Loor. Today was mainly dedicated to research and for my dynamic duo that meant we were back in the beloved dry forest of Lalo Loor thrashing around and , this time, intentionally searching for the most harmful tree species with successful (I can attest to the validity of that statement) mechanical plant defenses. After four hours of so spider web, such compass bearings, and much off-trail, we were off to a start on our research. But with a project titled “A Comparative Analysis of Spiny Mechanical Defenses in Trees of Highland and Lowland Plots in Lalo Loor”, it is practically guaranteed that there will be more sharp pokey objects to come.
June 10th, 2014
It is starting to become repetitive here in Lalo Loor. That is to say things are beginning to repeat themselves here in Lalo Loor. The morning greets us with a hearty day of point-quarter sampling plots and a tropical ecology lecture schedule from 3-5pm almost daily. I am ready to leave. Not Ecuador. Just Lalo Loor. The Amazon awaits in all its pristine biodiverse glory, with interspecific interactions of its abundantly unique species nearly free from anthropogenic influences. Fortunately there are more ancient wonders surrounding the densely packed forest than there is thickened fog.
Hopefully the dramatic effects of my repetitive writing have fully emphasized the pronounced season of monotony here in the D.T.F. I originally came here to unravel some of the mystery surrounding the Amazon Rainforest, and I intend on completing that goal.
June 11th, 2014
I will begin to recount the normality of my days here at Lalo Loor. More data collection in the lowland sites of the bosque seco in Lalo Loor. The distribution of our bearings could not be worse if a four year old armed with Crayola® in hand marked the next sample sites for us on a map of the reserve. The distance of spiny trees from the center of our plots steadily increased the father along the “Howler Monkey” (rightly named) trail. Don’t get me wrong, it is good for increasing the likelihood of our hypothesis being correct, but terrible due to the never-ending motions of bobbing and weaving through what once was densely populated forest before we disturbed its existence. It also did not help that the other groups had all but finished their projects with more free time than what they knew to do with it. Can you say “beach” anyone? They also took remarkable photos of the subjects they were studying. Now it’s my turn. Can I say “jealous much”?
June 12th, 2014
Data collection: terminated. After the mass extinction of many individual plant lives, our spiny tree data collection has come to a close. My partner and I took some pictures to commemorate our nettled experiences and to prove to others just how successful these mechanical plant defenses can be. Despite all the minor personal injuries my partner and I had accumulated on this experience, I must say that it felt good to be done. We put hard work into this project and I am certain that the quality will reflect that. There is still the write-up of the data, but that part can wait… We can enjoy this feeling of accomplishment while it lasts.
I’ve seen it all… spine types from “Don’t Hug Me” to “Certain Death”… And I guess I don’t take my own advice.