Welcome to the University of Exeter’s field trip blog for Costa Rica 2020. It is the end of our first full day of our field trip and already our eyes have been opened to this amazing new environment. Costa Rica is renowned for its wildlife, containing the highest biodiversity density of any country globally (approximately 6%) whilst only being a fifth of the size of the UK!
One of the great things about this trip was the travel freedom we were given for arriving. Many of us chose to come a few days prior to the field course to explore Costa Rica further and adapt to the jet lag. We met last night in the capital San Jose and had a briefing about our trip plus lectures about the Costa Rican birds and the the variety of biogeography, which influences the climates we will experience. This morning we set off heading North to La Selva Research Station where we will be staying for the next couple of nights. We spent the day in a wonderful flurry of education, both in the classroom and outside on hikes through the jungle. Being accustomed to the British winter the intense humidity has been a shock but everyone has enjoyed the sunshine. I can only mention a mere fraction of the extensive biodiversity we were able to see today. Ranging from bullet ants, to yellow-throated toucans, many different trogon species, black river turtles, peccaries (a relative of the pig family) plus both howler and spider monkeys, which can be extremely hard to find. La Selva is a hugely important conservation site with almost 4000 acres dedicated to research and forest conservation. It forms one of the best-preserved elevational gradients in all of the tropics, which is hugely important since global warming is forcing many species ranges to shift to cooler higher altitudes.
This evening in our amphibians lecture we found out that whilst England has 7 amphibian species, Costa Rica has over 200. We followed this by an evening walk spotlighting for frogs seeing species including strawberry poison dart frogs, tree frogs and cane toads.
Tomorrow we are beginning work on censusing techniques and I am excited to spend a full day exploring in this exquisite part of the world.
#ExeterGlobal #FieldCourseFortnight #FieldCostaRica