project news

Changing faces, changing places

News item submitted by Frontier
News item dated 11 Feb 2010


The start of the year held not only a brand new phase but also a brand new camp for our team in Costa Rica. 

At the start of January the team, including six volunteers, temporarily set off for the hill of the beautiful tropical rainforest of the Osa Peninsula. The camp was established just outside the well known Corcovado National Park. Although the area is well known for its incredible biodiversity, very few baseline surveys have been carried out around the area. The research team were eager to start exploring this new area and continued surveys on leaf litter amphibians; these surveys at   a slightly higher altitude will then be compared to previous sea level surveys for some interesting comparisons of habitat types.

The team also began mammal and bird transects in the area and after   a few practice surveys the volunteers have become authorities on identifying mammals through direct observation and tracks! Four monkey species are found on the Osa Peninsula and all of them are regularly spotted in the survey area, along with coatis and agoutis which often forage around camp. Not to mention some fascinating bird species waiting to be recorded. The volunteers quickly became familiar with the common bird species in the area, the scarlet macaw, white tailed dove, turkey vulture and swallow tailed kite and the toucan in particular. Some volunteers with very keen eyes also learnt to identify more cryptic species such as the bananaquit, white shouldered tananger, bay headed tananger and some of the incredibly diverse manakin species.

At the end of January the team moved back down to sea level and set up a brand new camp again next to the beach. The volunteers helped construct the camp and facilities from scratch; it was all hard work but very rewarding and a great experience! Now that the camp is in a more permanent location the volunteers have begun their own individual BTEC projects. This gives each volunteer a chance to plan, organise and undertake their own research project. There looks to be some fascinating reports on there way, including butterfly surveys, stream invertebrate sampling to determine pollution effects, hermit crab behaviour studies and some skink behaviour work. All the projects will teach the volunteers the basics of carrying out research in the tropics and should yield to some exciting findings again! 

Kate McKenzie and Hannah Burton

Read more about our Costa Rica Rainforest and Turtle Conservation Project