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Tropical Field Biology – Panama: Day 3

Caiman-Gamboa

Brief updates from a busy third field day in Gamboa. The daily routine is settling in. Accommodations are spacious and comfortable, and the Schoolhouse meals are excellent. It has been very humid and overcast since we arrived, with significant afternoon rains and occasional rains at night. The new environment takes some getting used to but is becoming more familiar each day.

The morning trip headed to the Panama Rainforest Discovery Center. We climbed up the impressive, ~ 95 feet high canopy tower to get a different perspective on the forest and its strata. One thing we noticed once on top is that the rainy season is not primary flowering time for most tree species. Highlight sightings along the trails included hummingbirds, howler monkeys, and a three-toed sloth in perfect position, just above our parked vehicles. New photos are posted on Flickr, as usual.

The after lunch lecture dealt with essential fare (not just) for tropical field biologists: trees (phylogenetic ones, that is), classifications, names, and identification. The ASU-facilitated Neotropical Flora Portal was featured in identification practices using a few legume tree branches. Identification skills will be needed for upcoming projects.

For the night trip we opted for a local site – the “Wood Lock”, a secondary forest patch on the western side of Gamboa. Again it was an eventful evening, including rather direct interactions with a specimens of Caiman crocodilus Linnaeus, 1758; shown in the featured image.

Tomorrow’s report will come late as we are exploring other sites until late in the afternoon.

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