Wednesday, June 8, 2016

My experience during the Harvard Field Course - Biology and Evolution of Invertebrates (Part 1) by Maycol Madrid

During my Bachelors career at the University of Panama I’ve been working with plants and marine macro algae.  They have been one of my passions during the last 4 years.

The photo on the right shows a group of filamentous algae on a mangrove prop root. Upper center picture is a green algae called Caulerpa. Bottom center is a cycad coralloid root. On the left is a cycad. 

Starting in December 2015, I had the opportunity to work in the Collin Lab. For me this has been a marvelous opportunity that every single day is enriching my knowledge of marine animals. By January 2016, I received the big news that I would be able to participate into a field trip to Bocas del Toro Research Station as part of a Harvard University course (OEB 51: Biology and Evolution of Invertebrates).  At that moment my mind started to think into the million ways in which I could take advantage of that course and how it could improve me as a professional.

By the first day of my arrive we arrange everything and we get into the field, sadly the first day I forget to put silica gel in my camera housing and my camera get fogged immediately.

During the second day in the field we went to a place that had many mangroves and some sea grass beds.  The huge diversity of organisms that habit in the mangrove prop roots fascinates me.

The third day of the course I forget my camera in the docks so no picture that day.  Oops.

During my work in the lab I read some of the papers by Svetlana Maslakova about nemerteans and I became fascinated by their morphology.  Especially their proboscis and feeding habits.  After reading that they are common in corals rubble, I started a search of for these ribbon worms.  I brought the rubble to the lab to break it with a hammer to see if I could find some worms. But sadly by the end of the week I wasn’t able to fine a single one. Luckily, one of my course mates finally found one so I did see one in the end.

The picture shows some coral rubble in which I searched for nemerteans. 
Stay tuned for PART 2 to see some more beautiful photos of the marine life in Bocas del Toro.

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