As week 2 begins in Panama we shifted our field schedule slightly earlier into the day (morning) in order to avoid some of the intense heat, humidity, and frequent early afternoon showers. Being in a tropical climate during the rainy season rain may still prove to be an obstacle, but hopefully a bit less so earlier in the day.
Unfortunately, upon returning we’ve found that some previous localities have been covered up by construction activities at the canal. However, as old localities are destroyed by construction activity, new ones may be created for us to find over the coming days and weeks. We’re all very hopeful that we might find the next great canal locality to yield an important find!
In the past week we’ve also visited two talks, both by Dr. Gustavo Politis from La Plata – Olivarria, Argentina. His talks both covered human-environmental interactions. The first talk was given as part of the Paleo-Talk series at STRI’s Center for Tropical Paleoecology and Archaeology (CTPA) in Ancon and the second was given at STRI’s Isla Barro Colorado (BCI) research station. There are, generally, talks presented every week at the local STRI research facilities. There is also Tuesday seminar series at the Tupper research center in addition to the weekly Wednesday and Thursday night talks at CTPA and BCI respectively. As a group we plan to make it to as many talks as we can, especially any that may have relevance to our work. The talks BCI are especially nice although the logistics of traveling there may prove to be prohibitive on occasion. First, we must drive/bus to Gamboa, although the drive is very pleasant and passes through a long stretch of dense rainforest. Then, we must take a ferry (really just a small passenger boat) to the research facility, but I rather enjoy boat rides and the scenery along the canal is completely new to all of us.
In other news, we look forward to visiting and getting a behind the scenes look at the BioMuseo in Panama sometime soon. We’re also exploring the possibility of spending a weekend on Isla Barro Colorado; more updates on these events as they occur. This past weekend we spent time on the beautiful beaches of Isla Grande on the Caribbean coast where we were able to pick the calcareous skeletons of various coralline organisms out of the beach. It was a wonderful way to relax after an interesting first week of work in the canal basin following three weeks of field work in the Azuero Peninsula of Panama.