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Loving La Selva


Looking good in wellies! This years staff and students © Alex Villegas

Over the last week, the University of Manchester field course has been based out of La Selva Biological Station, Heredia province. This world-renowned site for biological study has hosted researchers and students for over 50 years. It is a great experience for our students to be able to sample the atmosphere of one of the most productive field sites in the tropics, sharing tables with top researchers from around the world, and even watching some of the unfolding world cup with them!



Misfit leaf frog (Agalychnis saltator) © Matthew O’Donnell

Our week at Macaw lodge equipped everyone with the necessary skills to carry out their individual research project. I had my hands full with 8 students to supervise, but I can happily say they were great. It was very exciting to see the presentations and see just how well they all did. Projects ranged from poison frog abundance and environmental parameters, to measuring and comparing tree frogs from different habitats.

The diversity of amphibians and reptiles at La Selva is staggering, whilst we didn’t quite have as much rain as expected, we were still able to find a large range of species in abundance, enabling everyones work to run smoothly.


Me and Alex after a hard weeks work! © Alex Villegas

This week was also a great opportunity to work closely with my colleagues on the field course, Professor Amanda Bamford (Course leader), Alex Villegas (Swarovski Optik), Dmitri Logunov (Curator of Arthropods), and Frankie Elsner-Gearing (Demonstrator). From beta testing new University of Manchester software, to assisting with documenting orchid bees! I would like to extend my thanks to each of them, as their help and assistance was of great value to me during my 2 weeks on the field course. I would also like to thank, Andrew Gray, who’s trust and advice was invaluable for my participation, it was a great honour to represent Manchester Museum and the University, one I hope to repeat in the future.

A special mention must also go to the students, who were without exception a pleasure to work with. They were hardworking, professional and conducted themselves excellently across the whole two weeks. I would like to wish them every success for the future.

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One Response

  1. Proud of you Matt. Thank you

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