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!
We only have 17 days until we leave for Costa Rica, so we’ve been reading some tips from past Mammal teams on what it’s like down there. We have gathered the following helpful hints!
- Build a sturdy observation cage
- The best bait is soap, chocolate, sunflower seeds, and meat
- Bring enough anesthesia
- Bring correct size synergies
- Wake up early enough to net bats in the morning
- Put a net checking bag together with tape measure, scissors, Fiona Reed Book, frisk mater, and dissecting kit
- Take lots of pictures!
- Have fun 🙂
Hey guys! We are very excited as we prepare to head into the rainforest! The deeper into our research we go, the more questions we have. Some of our questions are:
How are we going to get the accelerometer back after we put it on the animal?
What animals will we come in contact with?
How do we operate an infrared laser camera?
What is the function of a tracking pad?
How will an accelerometer help us with our research?
Which method is going to be most efficient to track the mammals?
Will we see more mammals at night or during the day?
What do the mammals mostly eat?
We hope we will track down a lot of animals there, and be able to use all of the tracking methods. There are 46 days until we go! We will keep you updated as we continue our preparation for our trip. If you have any questions, please leave a comment!
-Caroline and Maureen
We were very excited when we discovered that the Rainforest Team is adding mammal research to our project this year. We knew that our School had not done mammal research in a while and we were thrilled to get it started again. After in-depth research, we found out that no one has ever tracked the mammals we are looking for in Costa Rica. Caroline Herdje ’16 and Maureen Harris ’16 wanted to be a part of the Mammals Team because we love animals and wanted to learn more about them, especially the ones in Costa Rica, where we will be going in early March. There are so many mammals in the rainforest and we want to find out more about them and their habitats. While in Costa Rica, the Mammals Team will also be doing a population inventory. This is seeing what there is in a specific area.
We hope to track the Baird’s tapir, common grey four-eyed opossum, watson tree rat, vesper rat, dusky rice rats, coatimundi, and the vested anteater. Every tracking method varies on the species of the animal. There are a variety of ways to track animals on the ground. One of the methods we will use is an infrared laser camera. These cameras use laser technology that capture detailed images and can send the data from miles away. The cameras are mounted on branches deep in forest. We will check their data twice a day for two weeks. Another method we will be using is the tracking pad. After the animal is caught, we would attach a device to its collar, and will be able to see the animal’s movements. We are trying to figure out a way for the collar to fall off naturally because it would be hard to catch the same animal again. Another method we will be using is telemetry, which is an automated communication process in which it tells the measurement of data from far away sources by wire, radio, or special equipment for monitoring. Furthermore, we also use traps as a method of tracking. These traps help us catch animals close to their natural habitat. The traps are also very useful for taking measurements and making scientific observations. Furthermore, using an accelerometer will be beneficial when we are in Costa Rica. An accelerometer is an instrument for measuring acceleration using the vibration of a machine, building, or other structure. Additionally, we plan to use collars and home range usage for tracking the accelerometer. The last method we will use for on-ground trapping is a mist nest for bats. The net is set up in such a way that when the bats move to try and escape from the net, the net moves in a different way and entangles the bat.
Eighty percent of all species live in Central America. We hope to find out as much information as we can regarding the mammals in the rainforest and are hopeful that our equipment and ways to trap them will work. We are setting up six different cameras to take pictures during the day and night so we don’t miss anything. Doing our research will help us identify what type of species live in a certain animal and how much movement they do each day and where they go. Below are the pictures of the animals we want to catch.
Common grey four-eyed opossum
Watson tree rat
Dusky rice rat
The vested anteater