Urchin/Crab Panama Expedition 2018: Day 8

Laetitita taking a break

Today was interesting insofar as when I woke up, I didn’t have the faintest idea what the plan was.  This is a good time to mention that working down here requires…  flexibility.   “Let’s meet in an hour” could be hours later.  Between “Panamanian time”, miscommunications, translations issue, and bureaucracy let’s just say it can get complicated.   But… that all fades away when the boat heads out into the ocean.

Alexandra looking for crabs
Laetitia looking for crabs

So I joined Alexandra and Laetitia today to provide logistical support go fishing and take pictures.  Fishing was basically a bust, as were most of the underwater pictures.   But they had some great success with crabs today.  They found 4 different species, including a couple that represent geminate pairs with the Pacific.  So we’re up to 3 geminate pairs for the urchins as well as the crabs.  One particular hard-to-find species was hiding in a rock so Alexandra brought the entire rock back and then attacked it with a hammer at the station to extract the crab.  Another particularly challenging one resulted in Laetitia learning how to throw up in a snorkel mask while catching the crab.


After I did dilution-streaking of all the aerobic Caribbean urchin plates, Laetitia and I headed into town for an ATM and some souvenirs.  I bought a Panama hat even though I know they actually originate from Ecuador (they were very clear on this point when I visited Ecuador).

Had a visit at our dorm of a troop of about 20 howler monkeys which was pretty amazing to see and hear!

Hanging out near the kitchen

Another action packed evening of media prep, crab dissections, and some anaerobic culturing.  Tossed in a quick pasta dinner for myself and I think Laetitita had cereal for dinner.




Somebody is benefiting from the fire coral



Alexandra cracking open rocks
Looking for a cab in Bocas town in my new hat
Urchins and crabs together!
Aren’t these amazing looking?

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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