Today students got to dig up Atta ant colonies in the rain forest surrounding La Anita with Andy and Miguel, our research instructors. Emily and Ella will post the “official” blog later this evening but I wanted to show you some of the pictures of our teachers and the work the students have been engaged in. This is turning out to be an amazing experience for us all – Dr. Boldt and I are learning as much and having as much fun as the students. The first picture is of me, Dr. Boldt, Andy B.(biology professor from University of Oregon and tropical ecology researcher) and Pablo, owner of Finca La Anita. The other pictures are students collecting swab samples from different parts of the ranch to support their varying hypothesis on the amount of bacteria to be found in different locations.
Here are pictures of the students collecting Atta leaf cutter ant colonies in the rainforest surrounding Finca La Anita. The goal was to gather an entire fungus garden, including a queen ant, and bring it back to the laboratory to use for their experiments. Every group was successful and were able to add their colonies to others collected by previous groups so that they have many colonies in the lab to experiment with. Miguel, a graduate student from the University of Costa Rica, is caring for the colonies and teaching students how to work with them in our small but well stocked lab here.
Here are some pictures of our students learning how to ‘read” bacteria plates and use statistical analysis for their data.