Urchin/Crab Panama Expedition 2018: Day 4

Panama City from Naos Island

10:00am “Maybe tomorrow”

1:30pm “Probably by next Tuesday”

3:15pm “Good chance by Friday, but we need yet another official letter”

Those were the three main pieces of information we got today regarding the luggage, from three different people.  The last however is from the person talking directly to the “broker” who may send their daughter to the airport with the latest batch of paperwork.  So we’ll see.

From Echinometra coelomic fluid

Today was “let’s assume we never see our stuff again, what can we salvage scientifically?” day.  First of all we do have stuff happily growing on our “marine LB” concoction (20g LB powder, 15g agar, 10g NaCL, .5g KCl, and 2g CaCl if you’re wondering).  Anaerobic culturing is obviously out and DNA extractions are still a problem.

A gold mine! (Educational supply store)
The head shop where we bought sterilization equipment

So the three of us drove down to Panama City, to check out an educational supply store rumored to have Petri dishes.  They did!  As well as gloves, dissection tools, and a couple of other odds and ends.  Then Jarrod and Laetitita discovered that a head shop nearby had butane torches that would be awesome for sterilizing things.  MacGyver science!

Then on to the facility at Naos so that Jarrod could do some extractions, Laetitia could work on a review, and I could work hard on stuff go fishing.    A special bonus was that Alexandra Hiller was willing to drive our new acquisitions to Bocas so that we don’t have the same problem on the internal flight.  However, we will be carrying plates with the bacteria on them… guess we’ll see what happens!

Party time!

On the way back to Gamboa we got to experience the famous Panama City traffic jams… taking 2 hours to go 30 km.  Grabbed a quick dinner and then back to the lab for a late night culturing session to pick colonies in preparation for our move tomorrow.   We fly to Bocas del Toro so we can begin sampling from the Caribbean side of the Isthmus.


About David Coil

David Coil is a Project Scientist in the lab of Jonathan Eisen at UC Davis. David works at the intersection between research, education, and outreach in the areas of the microbiology of the built environment, microbial ecology, and bacterial genomics. Twitter

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