Monthly Archives: November 2013

Spider Silk 2013-2014

spider silk — the strongest natural fiber in the world. It is well-suited for many uses like medical sutures and gloves, bullet proof vests, and more. For this, the school has been granted two US patents!

Scientists used to think that the Golden Orb Weaver spider was cannibalistic and not farmable. So companies are spending millions of dollars bio-engineering their spider silk. But our research has found little cannibalistic tendencies and in fact, they prefer to live in tight colonies. We have been able to collect their silk at a fraction of the cost.

This is the future of technology. And the Forman School’s Rainforest Project, the only High School in the country with this intense of a program, is on the brink of making history.

Goals:

1. To get as much spider silk as possible.
2. To figure out when and why the silk is most strong.
3. Make a cottage industry for local ranchers abutting rainforest land.

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Reptiles and Amphibians Team 2013- 2014

Mireille Pioppo, Olivia Shelbourn and Jane Fischer

Post #1- November 19th 2013

For the past several weeks, the Reps and Amphs team has been working on our preliminary research for our project. We started to create a database of reptiles and amphibians, commonly found on the Rara Avis reserve. Researching the species in our database will help us get to know the reptiles and amphibians we will come in contact with while in Costa Rica. This is an essential component of our project because in order to be successful, we need to familiarize ourselves with the reptiles and amphibians of Costa Rica. Knowing information such as what type of environment specific species live in will allow us to find, collect and research these animals. In addition, our database will help us determine the species we need to find on our trip so that we can find new research for the Macaulay lab and other important research databases.

Although we’ve researched quite a few species, there are several that we found to be especially interesting. The Ghost Glass Frog stood out in particular to us because of its unique appearance. We discovered that the Ghost Glass Frog lives mainly in shrubs and trees and lays their eggs on low vegetation. In addition to the Ghost Glass Frog, the Brilliant Forest Frog was especially interesting to us. Its smooth skin is spotted blue and green and a brilliant red color appears on the underside of the frog’s limbs in addition to between its webbed toes. While most frogs’ ears are not visible, the Brilliant Forest Frog has ears that are clearly noticeable. This is unique to this species of frog, which certainly sets it apart.

We are currently working to complete our database of the reptiles and amphibians commonly found in Costa Rica. We are learning so much about the wide variety of species and can’t wait to continue working on our project!