Uncategorized

Connecting hammerhead shark populations from the Eastern Tropical Pacific

Blogpost by Mariana Elizondo Sancho, Álvaro Ugalde grant awardee

Sphyrna lewiniis one of the nine species of hammerhead sharks, and it lives across the tropics worldwide. This species is categorized as Endangered, since its populations have declined more than 50% in the last 10 years, according to the IUCN. This shark is threatened by fisheries, both as bycatch and as directed fishing, since their fins are highly valued in the international fin market. 

Hammerhead shark school in the open waters from Cocos Island in the Pacific of Costa Rica. Photo: David Garcia

This shark has an interesting behavior in which females come to coastal waters called nursery areas to deliver their pups. Juveniles remain in these areas for their first years, so coastal marshes and wetlands are an important habitat for their nurturing. In Costa Rica, these areas are threatened both by habitat degradation and by fisheries. One of the most important nursery areas is the Golfo Dulce in the southern pacific of Costa Rica. 

After this first stage of life, adults move to open waters and islands, where constant migration is observed. Once in open waters and near the Cocos Island, this shark is specifically targeted for its fins. Protecting this highly mobile animal that can migrate long distances is a hard task since its populations are not in a specific geographic place during their whole lifetime. 

Also in the Eastern Tropical Pacific, population structure is not well known. Is it one population or are there several? Do females prefer specific nursing grounds to deliver their pups? Understanding population structure and movements of hammerhead sharks is vital to establish regional management and policies.

DNA extraction of hammerhead shark tissue. Photo: Mariana Elizondo

I have been researching the connectivity and genetic population structure of S. lewiniin various coastal nursing areas in Guatemala, Costa Rica and Panamá. The results of this research will be important to provide biological information for management plans that will aim to protect specific important geographical areas for this species’ persistence.


Sea Turtles, Volunteers and Visitors, Wildcats

More than a green patch on a map: Osa’s biodiversity and charm must be experienced in person

Blogpost by Thomas Kao, Volunteer, Age 14

In this modern day and age, we often forget there is more on this planet than just your home. As a young student with a love for maps, I have always set my eyes on this little corner of the world, an untouched paradise: Osa Peninsula.

As I mentioned, I absolutely love maps. I have laid my eyeballs over thousands of them, hungry for locations and searching for something new. However, maps can only tell you so much, and in reality they are portals to the lands they project.

Thomas and his mother, Lynn, taking a break under a giant old Ajo tree while hiking the Ajo Trail. Photo: Lucia Vargas

For Christmas, Santa delivered me a beautiful atlas, however, this atlas was a very recent edition. Thanks to the work of scientists in the field, preserving the ecosystem has never been more highlighted in history and this new atlas revealed every single National Park in the world. While browsing the atlas, Costa Rica really stood out. National Parks practically litered the page, and the Osa Peninsula was drowned in a sea of green labels. One minute I found myself staring at a page in a book and in the next I found myself in a plane leaving Los Angeles. Life can be hilarious sometimes.

Once at Osa Conservation, we participated in hatchery checks where we released hundreds of sea turtle babies. Everyday, I watched them crawl into the ocean with a smile on my face. Once the turtles made it home, we would trek back to the camp through a beautiful rainforest, and we could see tons of different animals that Osa provides with its limitless biodiversity.

A happy group of volunteers and Sea Turtle Research Field Assistants headed back from a morning sea turtle patrol of Piro Beach. Photo: Shannon Millar

The forest is never quiet and is always so full with life and magnificent greenery. Butterflys float around the fields and birds soar across the blue sky with grace. Monkeys of all types leap across the forest canopy whilst snakes slither across the forest floor. In the rivers and swamps you can find basoliths, lizards capable of walking on water, and small schools of fish swimming through the clear water. In California, almost none of the animals found here exist; the two enviroments are polar-opposites. If there is something I will never forget about Osa, it must be the local fauna and plantlife.

While living at the Osa Verde BioStation was at first out of my comfort zone, it quickly became a lovely and comfortable second home. The first day, I found a large spider sitting on a counter the size of my hand, that certainly give me a heart attack! However, each night the sky is covered with stars, a view I never saw in the USA. When staring at the stars, you will always hear monkeys, insects and birds, a non-stop noise but not an annoying one. It gives the surrouding forest livelihood and soul, showing you just how active Osa is.

Thomas excitedly holding a butterfly he encountered at the Osa Verde BioStation. Photo: Lynn Kao

Once in bed I fell asleep, the living quarters were extremely clean, something you definently wouldn´t expect. In fact, I have never slept better in my life; I was sound asleep like a baby. Three times a day meals were served, and all of them were delightful. All things considered, the food served here is best I´ve had in a long time.

I have been in other countries before with rainforests, but Costa Rica´s Osa Peninsula tops the list as the best one. I definently will have plenty of stories to tell my friends, I´m very glad and grateful that I had the opportunity to set foot in this foreign land.

Maps can only take you so far; there are no turtles, stars and monkeys on a map. It is only when you set foot in a new location, will you actually feel and experience an entirely new world.

Aves, Birds, Community Outreach, Science and Research

Descubriendo la ecología de un ave endémica y en peligro en Osa: Habia atrimaxillaris

Blogpost por Arlet Quiros-Calvo, ganador de la Beca Alvaro Ugalde y estudiante de maestría en la Universidad de Costa Rica

Macho y hembra de izquierda a derecha de tangara hormiguera carinegra (H. atrimaxillaris). Fotos: Arlet Quiros-Calvo

 Me llamo Arlet, trabajo con una especie en peligro de extinción, especial porque se encuentra en un único lugar del mundo. La tangara hormiguera carinegra, Habia atrimaxillaris, habita solamente en la Península de Osa y en el Refugio Nacional de Vida Silvestre Golfito-Parque Nacional Piedras Blancas en Costa Rica.

 Se cree que su población está disminuyendo rápidamente dentro de su pequeño rango geográfico debido a una gran reducción de su hábitat, resultante de la deforestación y la expansión de la frontera agrícola en el Pacífico Sur.

 Según investigaciones en la Gamba de Golfito, esta especie tiene una preferencia por los bosques primarios y bosques secundarios maduros. Al ser una especie que forrajea en el sotobosque, es decir, en la vegetación que se encuentra por debajo del dosel, puede ser muy sensible a las fragmentaciones del bosque. Aún así, el estado de conservación actual de la especie y el conocimiento sobre sus preferencias de hábitat es muy limitado en la Península de Osa, por lo que decidí ampliar la información existente sobre esta ave con la beca Álvaro Ugalde de Conservación Osa.

Los asistentes monitoreando día a día los nidos (izquierda). Realizando mediciones de las parcelas en Dos Brazos del Rio Tigre y la Tarde (derecha). Fotos: Arlet Quiros-Calvo

Desarrollamos esta investigación en sitios ubicados en la comunidad llamada La Tarde y la comunidad Dos Brazos de Rio Tigre, donde localizamos individuos en dos parcelas. Cuando nos dispusimos a monitorearlos, día a día, ¡descubrimos algunos secretos de su reproducción! 

Hasta el momento, hemos descubierto información muy valiosa para la conservación de esta peculiar especie. En los meses de época reproductiva (febrero-abril), observamos su comportamiento de cortejo y apareamiento, la selección del sitio de anidación, preferencia de hábitat, el número de huevos, su alimentación, e incluso anotamos datos de polluelos depredados. Además, mediante videos, llegamos a ver actividades cotidianas como forrajeo, búsqueda de alimento e incubación, lo cual nos ayuda a entender la complejidad reproductiva de la especie y su adaptabilidad en Osa. Adicionalmente, el comportamiento reproductivo es diferente en Dos Brazos de Rio Tigre y la Tarde, por la misma razón: la fragmentación de propiedades vecinas al Parque Nacional Corcovado.

Nido encontrado en la palma suita Asterogyne martiana en Dos Brazos de Río Tigre. Foto: Arlet Quiros-Calvo

A pesar de que en la literatura se menciona que la distribución de la especie se limita a hábitat maduro, nosotros ubicamos nidos en bosques de galería (bosques en los bordes de cuerpos de agua), áreas abiertas, bosques en regeneración y zonas de pendiente.

Al visualizar todos estos datos obtenidos, podemos generar información clave para proteger los bosques de Osa, sus aves y en general toda la biodiversidad presente en esta pequeña área de Costa Rica.

Diseño del nido de H. atrimaxillaris encontrado en Dos Brazos de Rio Tigre. Foto: Arlet Quiros-Calvo

Land Conservation and Forest Restoration, Science and Research, Uncategorized

“Restoring forests for bats” and beyond: NASBR 2018

Blogpost by Elene Haave Audet, Restoration & Rewilding Research Field Assistant

This October, I ventured out of the sanctity of the jungle to present at the 48thNorth American Symposium on Bat Research (NASBR) in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Over 300 researchers from across the globe gathered to share bat stories, communicate their research, and further our understanding of this hugely diverse mammalian group. Because of its location, the conference offered many opportunities to discuss the conservation of bats in the tropics, presenting a great opportunity to share Osa Conservation’s work on surveying bats in the restoration plots.

The Osa Bat Family, Priscila Chaverri, Gloriana Chaverri, Beatriz Lopez, Elene Haave Audet and Doris Audet, at NASBR. Photo: Elene Haave Audet

It was very exciting to see our Restoration and Rewilding efforts so well received by a bat-savvy audience. Researchers were curious to hear about the ways in which Osa Conservation is “restoring forests for bats”. This project is focussed on attracting bats to areas that are actively being restored, for example by planting flowering trees like the balsa, and installing two-meter-tall bat boxes, all with the aim of restoring bat diversity whilst the forest is regenerating.

Micronycteris microstis bats are feeling at home in this bat box, installed by Dr. Chaverri’s team at Osa Conservation. Photo: Elene Haave Audet

Excitingly, the bats of the Osa Peninsula were able to reach the audience in Puerto Vallarta beyond the scope of the restoration project, by researchers conducting work at and around the Osa Verde BioStation. Beatriz Lopez, from the University of Florida, discussed gathering bat echolocation calls on the Osa Peninsula to document species diversity, and Dr. Doris Audet from the University of Alberta, shared her research on bat exploratory behavior in the field. The conference was also a wonderful opportunity to discuss advances in bat research in Costa Rica with Dr. Gloriana Chaverri from the University of Costa Rica, who has planted deep roots of bat research on the peninsula over the course of her career. 

The presence of bat research on the Osa Peninsula, and Osa Conservation’s important contributions to supporting that research, was very well represented at NASBR 2018. The Osa Verde Biostation is truly a gem for bat diversity, with over 50 recorded species of bats to date, and sharing Osa Conservation’s involvement in conserving and restoring habitats for bats ensures that those contributions are recognized and appreciated by the bat community at large. 

Elene, identifying a bat by measuring its forearm, as part of the diversity surveys in the restoration plots. Photo: Elene Haave Audet

Aquatic Health, Volunteers and Visitors

Pumas en el sendero

Blog por Lucía Vargas Araya, Coordinadora de Experiencia de Conservación.

La autora Lucía Vargas Araya disfruta de la búsqueda de vida silvestre en el sendero. Photo: Laurien Dwars

“Hay dos pumas en el sendero”- me dijo mi compañero Leiner por un mensaje que recibí estando sentada en mi oficina en la Estación Biológica Osa Verde el otro día. Emocionada, le avisé a los compañeros que estaban cerca mío, nos pusimos zapatos y salimos rápidamente hacia El Sendero Las Tortugas, donde esperábamos encontrar a los felinos.

La entrada del sendero está justo al costado de La Estación y continúa hasta llegar a Playa Piro. Como Leiner no especificó en qué parte del sendero estaban los animales, desde que entramos al mismo y nos encontramos rodeados del bosque, el corazón latía fuerte; podían estar ahí camuflados detrás de cualquier árbol.

Rayos de luz solar caen en el camino cerca de la estación de investigación. Foto: Lucia Vargas Araya

Continuamos a un punto del sendero donde se debe de cruzar el Río Piro y entonces, el suspenso aumentó. Caminaba poniendo mucha atención a mi alrededor, cerca y hacia la distancia, tratando de detectar a los pumas, pero también viendo el barro que pisaba para no resbalarme.

Quienes estábamos en búsqueda de los pumas, íbamos con los ojos alertas y nos hablábamos en un tono muy bajo, casi como un susurro, para no espantar la ilusión de verlos de cerca. Continuamos el sendero, paralelo al río, hasta llegar a un cruce. ¿Cuál camino debíamos escoger? Ahí nos quedamos unos segundos hasta que decidimos tomar el de la izquierda, el que se aproxima al vivero de huevos de tortuga en Playa Piro. Nuestro caminar se volvió más pausado y esperamos a que Leiner respondiera el celular para saber si aún teníamos esperanza, pero no respondió.

Finalmente, nos topamos con quienes habían tenido la oportunidad de verlos y nos dijeron que ya los habían perdido de vista, se habían ido. Sin embargo, se sabía que estaban cerca porque escuchábamos aún el aullido típico de un mono que está observando a su potencial depredador.

Sereno Río Piro, el río que pasa por la estación de investigación. Photo: Lucia Vargas Araya

Esa tarde no encontré al puma, pero sentí una profunda gratitud de que el bosque de Osa se hubiera convertido en mi nuevo hogar. En este rincón palpitante de vida las posibilidades son infinitas. Aquí cada día estamos a la merced de la naturaleza; cada día puedo ver algo que nunca había visto antes. Y, además, aquí todos los días aprendo.

Esa tarde tuve una excusa para distraerme en el bosque y visitar el río Piro un rato. Además, iba en compañía de espíritus aventureros, que luchan por proteger lo que aman: la naturaleza; de la cual son parte. 

Community Outreach, Environmental Education

Rios Saludables de Osa Kick-Off!

Written by Erin Engbeck

Tuesday, October 7th, marked the launch of Osa Conservation’s Rios Saludables de Osa program with the first of two workshops co-led by Jim Palmer, the Science and Education Director at Osa Conservation, and our partners from Stroud Water Research Center. The program is based on the involvement of community members and volunteers with the aim of creating a higher level of public awareness and involvement in response to water quality and pollution. Providing citizens with the knowledge and tools for the monitoring of their local waterways as well as encouraging partnerships between local governments and the community.

Tuesday and Wednesday’s workshop initiated the training of Osa staff in identifying key concepts and techniques for data collection and community involvement within the Osa peninsula. Day one started out with introductions and an overview of the project from which we then moved forward and got down to the nitty-gritty subject matter of the workshop. Conducting chemical tests, and collecting data on water chemistries, captivated the attention of staff and volunteers and quickly absorbed the first half of the day.

Jim demonstrating how to conduct a dissolved oxygen test. Photo by, Anahí Quiñones

Jim Palmer demonstrating how to conduct a dissolved oxygen test. Photo by, Anahí Quiñones

Osa staff and research field assistants conducting pH tests. Photo by, Manuel Ramírez

Osa staff and research field assistants conducting pH tests. Photo by, Manuel Ramírez

After lunch the workshop resumed, the focus however switching from chemical testing to coliform. The idea of this test is to collect baseline data for current levels of the fecal coliform, Escherichia coli, or more commonly known as, E.coli. These tests help to determine stream health and whether or not local water sources are possible hazards to human health within the community.  This knowledge can help empower community members through hands on involvement in data collection and creating a sense of place within their natural environment.

Research assistants from Frontier and Osa Conservation learning correct methods for counting E.coli colonies. Photo by, Anahí Quiñones

Research assistants from Frontier and Osa Conservation learning correct methods for counting E.coli colonies. Photo by, Anahí Quiñones

Day two, our time was spent hands-on in the Piro River learning correct techniques for placing and collecting leaf packs. These leaf packs are perfect little houses for collecting aquatic macro invertebrates, the water inhabiting insects with no backbone that are visible to the naked eye. These invertebrates are very important in determining stream health because some of these little guys are very sensitive to changes water chemistry can only persist in certain ranges of water quality. As a result, streams can be classified into categories according to its insect inhabitants.

Tara from Stoud Water Research Center, demonstrating leaf packs. Photo by, Anahí Quiñones

Tara from Stoud Water Research Center, demonstrating leaf packs. Photo by, Anahí Quiñones

As day two came to an end it was quite hard to wrap things up, everybody loved the macro invertebrate leaf packs, because seriously, who doesn’t love an excuse to get down and dirty with insects? As the first workshop came to a close, Osa staff and other volunteers were feeling quite thrilled with the launch of the new project, and were excited to introduce it to the community members with the start of the second workshop on Friday and Saturday.

Volunteers intently looking for aquatic macro invertebrates.  Photo by, Erin Engbeck

Volunteers intently looking for aquatic macro invertebrates. Photo by, Erin Engbeck

The community workshop, on October 10th and 11th, contained eleven community members from the surrounding areas such as, La Paz and Puerto Jimenez. As with day one of the staff workshop, the community workshop followed the same guidelines, introductions and reasons for the importance of the project, then straight to the hands on testing.

Community member practicing dissolved oxygen test. Photo by, Erin Engbeck

Community member practicing dissolved oxygen test. Photo by, Erin Engbeck

David supervising data entry by community members. Photo by, Erin Engbeck

David supervising data entry by community members. Photo by, Erin Engbeck

The most rewarding part of the community workshop was not only empowering the members, so that they could take water quality and stream health into their own hands and share their knowledge with other community members, but also seeing them in the field and truly being interested in work they were doing and why is mattered. Just like with the staff workshop, the second day (aquatic macro invertebrates, and leaf packs) seemed to be everyone’s favorite activity.

David and Tara explaining the importance of sifting leaf packs in search of aquatic macro invertebrates. Photo by, Erin Engbeck

David and Tara explaining the importance of sifting leaf packs in search of aquatic macro invertebrates. Photo by, Erin Engbeck

We are very pleased that the community showed great interest in this project and would like to thank them for their participation. As part of the Rios Saludables program, we are compiling lists of schools, and other communities who are interested in participating and contributing to the program throughout the Osa peninsula. In the continuing work with surrounding communities we will be relying on them to take the lead in data collection, and hope that this empowers the community to be the first responders when water quality concerns are raised.

Community members proudly showing off their certificates for successfully completing the workshop. Photo by, Erin Engbeck

Community members proudly showing off their certificates for successfully completing the workshop. Photo by, Erin Engbeck

 

Community members and Rios Saludables Staff after a interesting and fun filled day of leaf packs

Community members and Rios Saludables Staff after a interesting and fun filled day of leaf packs

Marine Conservation, Sea Turtles

Leatherback Sea Turtle Sighting on Peje Perro Beach, Osa Peninsula

123Written by Manuel Sanchez and Wanda Cope.

Photo by Manuel Sanchez. Translated by Florencia Franzini

 

It may be the world’s largest species of marine sea turtle, but it is also the most endangered sea turtle species, too. On October 16, 2014 we are delighted to announce that this critically endangered species still has the beaches of the Osa Peninsula as an safe nesting location. It’s gratifying evidence that all of the effort that have been put fourth to protect this majestic creature, along with the other six remaining species of marine turtles, have come to fruition – this is definitely another reason to keep fighting the good fight and continue on with our mission.

In 2004 the first nesting Leatherback turtle was spotted on the Peje Perro beach by Manuel Sanchez and Pablo Modena during a beach monitoring effort – since that year there has not been another sighting on the beach again. In 2013 it was identified that a leatherback turtle had laid one clutch in the 29th sector of the beach. Finally with much happiness we had another official sighting on October 16, 2014. Once again the sight chosen for nesting was on Peje Perro beach, and during the night patrol the tracks of a massive leatherback turtle were identified. Initially the tracks led to a false clutch nest site on sector 29 of the beach (the same site as the 2004 nest), but ultimately not but 500 meters away did the turtle attempt and succeed at the construction of a new nest to lay eggs in.

1487860_10152692342571998_3797108606540911826_o

Aves, Birds

Sighting of Yellow-billed Cotinga (Carpodectes antoniae) in the Piro area of the Osa Wildlife Refuge, Costa Rica.

Written by: Manuel Sánchez Mendoza & Pablo Porras Peñaranda

The Yellow-billed Cotinga (Carpodectes antoniae) is a regional endemic bird that occurs on the Pacific lowlands of southern Costa Rica and Northern Panama. This species is listed as Endangered (EN) by IUCN’s red list, and its small population, estimated at only 298 to 794 individuals, is thought to be declining rapidly. In the past years, Osa Conservation has led efforts to study this species and its habitat needs to conserve one of Osa Peninsula’s most unique treasures.

Observations of Yellow-billed Cotinga at several locations indicate that it requires access to mature fruits from Lauraceae, Annonaceae, Moraceae and other mixed forest tree species. Recent work by Osa Conservation has documented movement between mangrove and premontane tropical habitats during their suspected breeding season (December to June); however, spatial parameters of home range size and habitat use, and patterns of movements between breeding, feeding and roosting areas remain unknown. Few observations of Yellow-billed Cotingas exist within mangrove habitat during months the birds are thought to be non-breeding, which has lead researchers to believe that the species migrates or “wanders” locally or possibly attitudinally between July and November, but this has never been confirmed. Individuals have been observed at two inland sites on the Osa Peninsula several kilometers away from typical mangrove habitats between the months of September and November, but the breeding status and origin of these birds with respect to their reproductive grounds and their migratory movements is unknown.

The gaps in the natural history of the Yellow-billed Cotinga are slowly filled to technology and birdwatchers sharing their sightings as part of a big citizen-science network. The Yellow-billled Cotinga has been reported in new sightings throughout the Peninsula, specifically at the Osa Wildlife Refuge; nevertheless these sightings are still incredibly scarce and often have a large time-lapse between them. Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s eBird online platform last reported a sighting at the Lapa Rios’ property in 2011 (see map attached).

Screen Shot 2014-10-14 at 4.08.17 PM

Osa Conservation’s naturalist Manuel Sanchez Mendoza along with his brother and niece, Elfer Daniel Sanchez Mendoza and Jennifer Robles Sanchez, have been observing Turquoise Cotingas (Cotinga ridgwayi) at his house backyard (neighboring OC’s Piro Biological Station) foraging on “Aguacatillo” Trees (Lauracea family) for several days when on August 17th to his surprise, an adult male Yellow-billed Cotinga was with the group of birds feeding on that tree. This is a truly amazing report after three years of “silence” (picture attached).

C. Manuel Sanchez

This photo was taken by Manuel Sanchez at his home while observing Turquoise Cotinga’s with his family.

 

Community Outreach, Environmental Education, Science and Research, Volunteers and Visitors

Local students study the life contained in the Osa’s freshwater streams

by Lauren Lipuma, Conservation Outreach Coordinator, and Jim Palmer, founder of Creek Connections

stream.8

This past week local students from Puerto Jiménez had the chance to discover what lives in the streams that flow by their small town and the incredible amount of chemistry and biology that goes into keeping their water sources clean and healthy.

Led by veteran biologist Jim Palmer, founder of the Creek Connections program at Allegheny College, Osa Conservation staff and volunteers worked with 8 sixth-grade students, a teacher, and several parents from the local public school in Puerto Jiménez over three days to study the biological diversity, water quality and chemistry of waterways in the Osa Peninsula. OC staff and local students were joined by several Creek Connections staff members and interns as well as staff from the Stroud Water Research Center of Avondale, PA and the National Biodiversity Institute of Costa Rica.

On Sunday, students split into teams to study Quebrada Ignacia, a small stream running through Puerto Jiménez, and conducted basic tests of water composition, measuring such things as nitrogen, phosphorus and dissolved oxygen levels, as well as turbidity (total dissolved solids) and pH levels. The macroinvertebrates inhabiting a stream, such as insects, molluscs, arachnids and crustaceans can act as indicators of stream health, but the water in this stream was too deep and silty to collect them. Luckily, Creek Connections staff members brought a few live ‘macros’ from Rio Piro so that students could get a preview of what they would see the next day.

 

stream.12

Community Education Manager Pilar Bernal shows students how to conduct basic water chemistry tests.

stream.pj.4

Students sort macroinvertebrates brought from Rio Piro.

Then, on Monday morning, the students joined Dr. Palmer and others at Osa Conservation’s Piro Biological Station to continue their water quality studies on the streams flowing on the western side of the peninsula. After a brief introduction to the importance of key chemical and biological indicators of stream health, students made the short hike to the junction of Rio Piro and Rio Coyunda, where they conducted the same chemical tests they had performed the day before on Quebrada Ignacia. Creek Connections staff members demonstrated the kick-net technique for sampling aquatic biodiversity in each stream, and students sorted the diverse array of macroinvertebrates they collected in the kick-nets on the basis of whether they indicate excellent, good, regular or poor stream health. Staff from the Stroud Center and the National Biodiversity Institute also helped students identify aquatic insects and several fish species from the streams. The students then summarized their results as a group.

 

stream.16

Students set up a field water monitoring station at the junction of Rios Piro and Coyunda.

  stream.9

stream.14

RFA David Parreño helps students conduct basic water chemistry tests on the Rio Piro.

stream.7

Overall, the students measured significantly higher aquatic biological diversity at both the Rio Coyunda and Rio Piro sites compared to Quebrada Ignacia.  Quebrada Ignacia had much higher turbidity and salinity levels compared to Rios Piro and Coyunda, most likely due to the strong estuary influence from nearby Golfo Dulce.  Students found that Rio Coyunda was significantly more alkaline than Rio Piro and hypothesized it was due to the presence of more rocks of limestone origin with higher calcium content in Rio Coyunda. The types and abundance of macroinvertebrates present placed both Rios Piro and Coyunda at the high end of the “regular” category in terms of water quality.  Students noticed both streams had high numbers of snails on the rocks.

 

stream.4

Students collect macroinvertebrates using a kick-net.

  stream.1

stream.6

Students separate and sort the collected macroinvertebrates in ice cube trays.

 

On Tuesday, Dr. Palmer and Creek Connections staff joined the same students for a third time at the Osa Conservation office in Puerto Jimenez for additional practice at sorting and identifying the invertebrate indicators of water quality.  At the OC office, students used microscopes to examine key adaptations of some of the invertebrates up close. Dr. Palmer and Pilar Bernal, OC’s Community Education Manager, concluded the sessions with a summary of the major findings of the three days of study and a fun ‘lab practical’ that challenged students to correctly place preserved specimens from OC’s reference collection in to the appropriate indicator category.

stream.pj.2

Students examine macroinvertebrates under a microscope.

stream.pj.5

Students compare samples taken from Rio Piro against samples from OC’s reference collection.

stream.pj.3

Students sort the invertebrates into categories based on stream health indicators.

Over this three-day workshop, students were quick learners and eager to return to the field station for more activities. Creek Connections and Osa Conservation hope to continue to engage this same class in ongoing water quality assessments of the Quebrada Ignacia to spot seasonal and long-term patterns, and will also encourage and support these same students to design their own stream research projects as they move through high school.

Aves, Birds, Community Outreach, Environmental Education

Migratory birds uniting communities and countries

by Pilar Bernal, Environmental Education and Outreach Manager

bird.fest.2

On March 1, Puerto Jimenez was filled with color, music, and recreational activities for children and adults. More than 200 people congregated to say their farewells to the migratory birds that will be returning to their nesting habitats in North America. The occasion celebrates the first migratory bird festival of the Osa Peninsula, an event jointly organized with Osa Birds and ACOSA-SINAC, with support from Tropical Wings and the National Park Services of the United States.

The festival’s objectives were to promote knowledge and awareness in communities of conservation and protection through recreational activities, lectures, and exhibitions. As well as bringing to light the joining of the National Park Services of the United States and Costa Rica, the event sought to make people aware of the responsibilities and actions shared by both countries for the conservation of bird species that call both of our countries home.

Participants had the opportunity to take part in a birding walk tour led by the most renowned birders of Osa Peninsula and to learn about migratory birds through talks with Osa Birds, a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting Osa’s incredible bird species. Participants were also able to learn about edible plants for birds with Reinaldo Aguilar and conservation projects for birds with the Ornithologist Union of Costa Rica. All this was organized to answer this question at the end of the day: why are the birds so important?

A complementary migratory bird festival will take place in bird nesting locations in St. Croix, Minnesota, in the United States, sponsored by Tropical Wings United States, the St. Croix Scenic River Association and the National Park Service. An art exchange will take place between students from schools of Osa Peninsula and schools in St. Croix.

Check out some photos from this incredible event!

 bird.fest.1

bird.fest.5 bird.fest.19 bird.fest.18 bird.fest.17 bird.fest.16 bird.fest.15 bird.fest.14 bird.fest.13 bird.fest.12 bird.fest.11 bird.fest.10 bird.fest.9 bird.fest.8 bird.fest.7 bird.fest.6

Data Entry Services India