It's been an eventful few days here in Palau! On Sunday, we drove up to Ngardmau state to survey their marine protected area for sea cucumbers! This was a follow-up survey to some previous work by PICRC and Ngardmau State.
(Above) One of the members of the genus Actinopyga our students surveyed (for those interested, there were about 1.7 per square meter); (below) Jack heroically swimming against the current near the yellow transect tape.
On Monday, we did some quick freshwater explorations around Ngardok Lake in Melekeok state (the largest natural body of freshwater in Micronesia), and found some fun odonate nymphs and daphnia. We also did some ant surveys of some of the different vegetation types in the reserve around the lake.
(above) An excited Dr. Carla Atkinson checks out some of the aquatic macroinvertebrates (and cane toad tadpoles) we found in Ngardok Lake. (below) A close up of one of the many mosquito larvae we found in the lake, taken in the field through Anuschka's cellscope.
Finally, on Tuesday, we spent the morning planting about 86 native trees in an eroded Bauxite mine site in Ngeremlengui State with the Ebiil Society.
Hi everyone! Whew, I guess it's a little more tricky to make lots of blog posts while you're knee-deep in a field course than I thought!
We're about half way through the course, now, and we've been focusing on learning about some of the marine environments of Palau, as well as the terrestrial critters that live in the limestone karst.
Students who have taken a classroom-based course with Dr. Rundell know that crinoids (at least the little disarticulated cheerios of their stalks) are a very common fossil in the Devonian rocks in Central New York. Far fewer students from SUNY-ESF have actually gotten to hold a living crinoid, like Maddy is here:
Jack is taking a vertical photo onto a 0.25m^2 quadrat for later quantification of coral cover, and Audrey is doing some non-quantitative explorations of the coral diversity:
In addition to some of the marine work we've been doing, we've collected some land snails on the limestone karst, and looked at some really cool archaeological sites, including one of the Yapese stone money quarries in Airai:
Just to wrap things up... here's a diplommatinid in the genus Hungerfordia!
Technically I can't *really* give medical advice, since I'm not a doctor or any other kind of licensed medical practitioner. But if I *could* give medical advice, I might say something like "before traveling to a different country, it's always good to check on the CDC website for what immunizations they recommend, and, like the CDC website says, it's a great idea to check with your doctor." I'd also probably send you a link to the CDC page on Palau: