Tropical Field Biology – Panama: Day 1
Our Tropical Field Biology – Panama 2014 course is officially underway! Eighteen students arrived yesterday at the Tocumen Airport, some after lengthy travels. We picked up our transportation late in the evening and proceeded to the Gamboa School Building. There were welcome sandwiches and coffee/tea waiting for exhausted but happy travelers.
After a good night’s rest and the first (hearty) Panamanian breakfast we started exploring the rainforest. Our first, short but impressive destination was the nearby Pipeline Road, a storied lowland rainforest trail into the Soberanía National Park. It took us about 2 hours get maybe 0.5 km into the trail – a testimony to the forest’s diversity and our excitement. Heavy rains started around 12:30 pm. This was our signal to return for lunch.
The first of about 10 course lectures is starting in the afternoon. Topic: Tropical Biodiversity & Biogeography.
I will post and link to pictures periodically.
Night update: After dinner we split up into two groups; one driving towards the “frog pond” near Gamboa, the other returning to Pipeline Road to look for frogs and arthropods. Highlight of the night: the pictured tarantula which was perched on the wall of a small storage shed by the trail entrance gate. Possibly this is the species Psalmopoeus pulcher Petrunkevitch, 1925. It is also known as “Panama Blond”. Both scary and beautiful, and a fitting end to our first day in Gamboa.