Another great day in Costa Rica for the BIOL 4950 Crew! Today, we spent our second day in the field conducting our group research projects. El Equipo Plantas was keeping busy collecting samples, sitting around punching holes in leaves and measuring leaf toughness, El Equipo Luz was out on an adventure in Sector de Santa Rosa measuring light, and El Equipo Suelo was strenuously hauling water in the beating sun all morning. Today, all groups accomplished a lot before the afternoon rain came ceasing all field work and the data is starting to show.
El Equipo Suelo, whose research focus is on better understanding how precipitation affects soil respiration, spent the day finalizing all the preparatory steps before beginning to measure CO2 flux tomorrow. We started by hauling 200+ liters of water, in all the containers we could get our hands on, to our study site within an Oak forest in Sector de Santa Elena. Luckily, we found a wheelbarrow and our backs were spared. We then preceded to water the forest floor in order to simulate various rainfall event sizes. El Equipo Suelo is hoping to gather data that shows noticeable differences between rainfall event sizes and how much CO2 is released from the soil. Tomorrow, we plan on measuring soil as well as digging a soil pit in order to classify the soil within the forest.
This evening we had a delicious dinner that consisted of fish, beans, rice, fried plantains, and pineapple followed by a discussion about threats to conservation areas. A few of Dr. Powers’ colleagues joined us that added depth to the discussion. Overall, it was a great day of research and we look forward to more of the same tomorrow.