No post yesterday because I was doing DNA extractions. I am spending more or less 24h in the lab. The bugs are growing and I became painfully aware of the large sample size of crab tissues we have! I think I can extract DNA out of them all and that keeps me going. During the day I meet other lab rats and during the night cockroaches the size of guinea pigs.
Today I took my first break and went out for lunch with Matthieu Leray. We had a lot to discuss. He is an excellent marine ecologist.
It looks like this trip will work out! This was only possible thanks to a lot of helpful people. I will try to mention a few: There was David Coil who joined me for this adventure. Harilaos Lessios and Jarrod Scott who helped us plan it. Jamie Blair, Jarrod’s esposa who figured out a lot of the logistics. Bill Wcislo and Jonathan Eisen who covered our backs and got us out of the swamp a couple of times. The mysterious customs broker and Paola Galgani who went to talk to the clerks at the airport and who succeeded in releasing the baggage from quarantine. Marcos Ramos, who delivered the suitcases 3min before we had to check-in for our flight to Bocas del Toro. Taisha Parris, Aristoteles Villegas, Laura Geyer, Vilma Fernandez, Urania Gonzales and Plinio Gondola, who handled all the administrative work at the different STRI stations and made me go through the lab security training THREE times. Deyvis Gonzales and Heather who navigated the STRI boats to our different known and unknown sampling locations. And Alexandra Hiller, my invaluable guide on the porcelain hunt.
At this point, I also want to mention Nino Wilkins and Tania Wyss who worked on the Spanish translations of our CVs, STRI application permit and Panamanian collection permit. And our respective spouses Isabelle Henry and Donny who took care of our families while we took off.
This is a large group of people that were involved in making this trip happen. And it is just the beginning of the project…
We collected host-associated microbes of urchins and porcelain crabs from both sides of the istmo and made them grow on different media. Now we have to evaluate our results and see if we can increase the catalogue of microbes associated with geminate species.
A few memories taken by Alexandra: