so things have really escalated for all of us on the FSP by now. we had our last day of just kind of hanging around and sightseeing, which was great because we spent our sunset on la roca, this lookout point with an amazing panoramic view. prof r told us that our hearts would explode when we got there, and he was kind of right:
that day was also insane because we ran into a troop of capuchins, who took some time to hang out with us and give us very photogenic faces:
we’ve seen monkeys almost everyday after that - in fact, s.b. got peed on by a howler monkey on our way to la roca - but for the past couple of days we’ve been working hard on our fip’s - faculty initiated projects. my fip2 is on antlions, which actually build little pitfall traps to prey on ants, but fip1 (the paper i’m writing tonight) is on acacia ants or Pseudomyrmex spinicola, which live in acacia trees or Acacia collinsii.
acacia ants live in mutualisms with the trees, attacking herbivores in exchange for food and shelter, so we tested the effect of both physical and chemical disturbances on ant activity, as well as the effect of a combination of the two. we thought that ants would conserve energy much like multiple burglar alarm systems do, and respond to the combination of two different signals in greater force than any of the ‘alarms’ alone, or in greater force than just a sum of the two. so we spent a day in the sun making these ants angry, and i took a lot of pictures.
things are going to get pretty busy with our first sip or student initiated project or independent project, but i hope i can keep writing, if only to keep recording the little things that happen along the way.
by the way, here’s a few of those little things:
-prof r asking why there are vegetable meats (like veggie burgers) but no meat vegetables
-j.b. finding a scorpion in her bed and j.d. being completely unhelpful. “some species sling venom into your eyes!”
-more than 10 coatis casually coming to drink from the watering hole right next to our field station:
good night, everyone!