Monthly Archives: January 2017

The Reptile and Amphibian Team

The longest running study of the Rainforest project, The Reptile and Amphibian Team is proud to say that this year, we will be focusing our efforts on gathering information about Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (abbreviated Bd), more colloquially known as Chytrid Fungus. This fungus is infecting amphibians across every continent, and for most of the affected animals, it results in death. In recent years, it has decimated some of the largest populations of in the world, and is able to infect a higher percentage of species than almost any other disease in recorded history (http://www.amphibianark.org/the-crisis/chytrid-fungus/). In just the past three decades, this epidemic has wiped out entire species and caused an alarming decline in biodiversity, in Costa Rica, Panama, Australia, parts of Europe, South Africa, Japan, and all across the Americas, (http://amphibiaweb.org/chytrid/chytridiomycosis.html). In some cases, this extremely parasitic fungus has spread so rapidly it causes massive devastation to entire ecosystems within just a matter of weeks (http://www.amphibianark.org/the-crisis/chytrid-fungus/). Only a select few species, such as the American Bullfrog have proven resistant, and scientists are working to constantly to better understand the factors that determine how Chytrid fungus can affect some species so much differently than others. We hope our research will help raise awareness about this devastating threat. We have the exciting opportunity to work with the accomplished field biologist, Dr. Twan Leenders, a published author, and assist in the research. We will also be helping him to survey amphibian and reptile species in the reserve for a data base and his next book on Reptiles of Costa Rica.

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Hello from the Mammal Team

The Forman School 2016-2017 Mammal Team Rainforest project is to gain awareness in Central America, especially in the Costa Rican rainforest. The team of Mee Mee Filan ‘17 and Charuprabha Gaur ‘17 will collect field data of endangered species to understand the relationship the rainforest has with its animals. The Costa Rica rainforest creates the perfect environment for all types of species, starts the repeating path and cycle of life.

The adaptation of survival of the rainforests exotic species is mainly due to the environmental forces. The main focus of the team this year is to focus on the mammals that live in the decreasing habitat due to global warming, which is pushing species further north due to temperature changes. Going back to the same location year after year to study the same species, forming patterns of speciation within species. When a species environment changes they revolve around it, so the species changes the reproduction of organisms which then gets passed on to next generations, leading to speciation. Comparing the species that have been collected in the same locations would make comparing and finding any mutations or adaptations of species to the area. Coevolution of selective pressure will be strongest when there is a close ecological relationship of evolving in response to the other selective environment that is constantly changing.

Research population inventory to see what’s in a specific area. Track ideally the Baird’s Tapir, Common Grey Four Eyed Opossum, Watson Tree Rat, Vesper Rat, Dusky Rice Rats, Coatimundi, and the Vested Anteater that were also trapped by the mammals team last year. To track and trap the mammals of the rainforest, all method varies within the different branches of the animal with different types of equipment.

Researching tracks helps identify what types of species live in a certain area. Finding how much movement a certain species does each day makes patterns of their movements and reaction to the changing environments. Knowing where each animal travels in the rainforest can show the mass patterns of mammals in the rainforest. If you’re interested in the work we are doing, follow us along while we get prepared for our January journey into the Costa Rican Rainforest!