For those who are intrested in what I do on a daily basis here is one day in April……..
7.30am – I wake up 5 minutes before my alarm goes off (something I have started to do every day!) in my little cabin on the Patacia (which is a floating research vessel). So I get up and have a quick shower in river water before putting on my jungle clothes. I then head down for breakfast which consisted of rice with tuna, onion and tomato, a good start to the day. Produced by our cook (Denise) who had already been up an hour previous to produce this yummy meal. I join Izzy, Ellie and Emma and we all eat our breakfast; some mornings the cook and guides join us too. We chat about our plans for the day and afterwards I organise the equipment we need ready for the day ahead.
8.00am – We all met down by the canoe along with our guides Miguel and Juan. I then explained to the guides that we wanted to go to the lake and search the floating vegetation for frogs, tadpoles or frog spawn. It takes a lot of miming to explain what we meant by frog spawn but we get there in the end and head off to the lake with a couple of canoes and a very large net!
8.30am – Upon arriving at the lake I directed Miguel to the area I wanted to search and we all got into the canoes; Emma, Miguel and myself in one and Ellie, Izzy and Juan in the other. The methods used involved recording the time taken to search the vegetation, along with its location. To search the vegetation we rowed the canoe into the vegetation this caused it to part on either side and we were close enough to hand search for frogs. This proved to be a very successful morning and we started finding frogs almost straight away including lots of dendropsophus triangulums (these are often referred to as clown frogs due to their colouration). I collected and kept some of these individuals to use in a colour change experiment, which I conducted in the afternoon.
11:30 – After three hours in the hot sun, we decided to call it a day and headed back to the boats which were down the river. Once we had returned we all had showers to cool down, and then relaxed before lunch. We were making the most of the free time and resting up after our busy morning in the jungle.
1pm – Lunchtime arrives and by this point I am very hungry, I really enjoy our lunch of fish and rice (courtesy of the local guards who live in the guard station where we are located. The fish we have is very meaty and yummy (see the photo below of Miguel bringing it over to us) they caught this with just a spear out in the flooded forest.
1.30pm – After lunch I spent the afternoon typing up data which I had already gathered, as well as conducting experiments. I photographed all the frogs to begin with then separate them into different pots. A selection of these pots I left in the natural light and others I covered with a very dark cloth to simulate night. I then photographed them ever half an hour, and after a couple of hours I swapped them over. The reason behind me doing this is to see how much their individual colours varied during the course of the day and the night. As you can see from the photos below the colours produced varied greatly.
6.00pm – I spent the early part of the evening relaxing and photographing the amazing sunset, which we were lucky enough to experience ever night.
7pm – By now it is dinner time and as usual I am very hungry at this point, luckily Denise knows how large my appetite is and is always commenting on how I always finish everything on my plate so gives me a very large portion J.. Each night we always sit and have dinner with Denise, Miguel, Juan and the guards from the guard station. This is always good fun, with the Spanish people at one end of the table English people at the other… Often mixing the two and having full table chats resulting in a lot of laughter at our Spanglish!
8pm – The time has come to go out for the night surveys, we are doing two transects which are closest to the guard station. We all get into our canoes and canoe across into the forest. We had a very successful night and found quite a few interesting species; including a few baby caimans swimming around in the water. We also discovered a water snake and a skink, the first one was swimming in the water and the latter on a branch above the water. Both transects took about an hour and a half to complete and comprised of very slow canoeing through the forest; with torches used to search for frogs. We saw a range of species at various heights in the forests, and some took an amount of precarious balancing on behalf of the guides; who would stand up in the canoes to try and catch frogs a few meters above the water level.
11pm – We finished both transects and went back to the boat, I spent a few minutes sorting out the equipment that we had used then headed up to bed. The jungle is so peaceful at night and the stars are amazing! I got into bed, wrote my diary and turned off the light completely exhausted and in need of the sleep which will get me ready for another day tomorrow!