Urchin/Crab Panama Expedition 2018: Day 9

Cruising the mangroves looking for sampling sites

I think pretty much everybody was woken up at 5:30 am by the pack of howler monkeys in the trees outside the station.  I had taken a bunch of pictures of them yesterday but I did kind of wonder at the name since they didn’t seem to be making too much noise.  Boy was I mistaken… they are LOUD!  And kind of freaky sounding.

Had a long boat day today, 8-2 on the water.   We were heading 40 minutes to Loma Partida  which is described on one website as “the best snorkeling in Bocas”.  However, when we arrived we didn’t even get in the water since there were no rocks… and the crabs hide under rocks.   So after much debate we headed to another spot which was more promising,

The former bar

and indeed had rocks.  Got a few crabs there and then headed for a little rocky island on a reef.  Turns out this tiny island used to have a bar (the drinking kind, not the sand kind) and so there was a fair bit of underwater structure.  Definitely the most amazing snorkeling we’ve seen… and an abundance of the porcelain crabs.  I even got in a bit of fishing and caught a couple of small barracuda.  The haul for the day was 25 crabs which is a record so far.

Brain coral?

Another afternoon of lab work, extracting DNA from many of the isolates, dissections, plating, etc.  Due to a complicated intersection of factors (shortage of some items, redistribution of some items to Laetitia, fluid logistics)… I’m done with lab work in Panama.  I leave tomorrow back to the Gamboa station for a couple of days, and then stay in STRI housing in Panama city for a couple of days after that.  Meanwhile Laetitia and Alexandra will be leaving on a road trip for the SW of Panama, back on the Pacific side.   I won’t be blogging after today because I’ll be done with project work.  Laetitia will take over… but probably won’t have internet access for some days to come.

Neat coral
Many fish
Urchins hanging out

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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