3-1-19: Moving as fast as we can: processing the data and hunting for more Piper
Now that we are in the groove of things, we take each day as doing both hunting for more Piper and processing the data (Piper and any caterpillars found). Again, we split the kids in half. After breakfast Mr. Rudnick went with Trevor and the following students to survey another previously unexplored area for Piper
While Dr. Moore did zoo, and data cataloguing with
During zoo, we cleaned out the homes of frass, added new leaves for food if we had the right species, and noted some more had pupated. Then after zoo, we continued to take pictures of all the leaves, which we have now gotten really good at. Two people "prep" the leaves (cut off the stems, and number them front and back (there are 10 leaves in each bag). Then the photographer takes the bag and photographs each leaf, front and back. The five of us spent all morning doing this, and here were still more for Mr. Rudnick's group to do in the afternoon. By the end of the day, one camera had taken over 7,000 pictures (and we had 2 cameras going at once...yes, we changed out SD cards!).
After lunch, my group and I went back out with Trevor to look for Piper in yet another unexplored area of La Selva, while the morning group did the cataloguing and photographing. Our plan was to ride bikes out a 6,000km trail, and to search for Piper along the trail. So we were biking out, when Foster's bike chain not only came off the bike, but completely broke. While trying to figure out what to do, Ava and I biked ahead to the 6,000m mark (and then we would work our way back), but of course, Dr. Moore is a much slower biker than my young student. At one point, Trevor and Jeremy caught up to me (Foster ended up having to walk his bike back, and Grayson went with him), and then they zoomed ahead.
As Trevor, Jeremy and I continued to bike (well, Trevor and Jeremy biked - I labored along) all of a sudden, the paved path stopped at marker 5300m. The path still existed but it was all dirt and mud, and uphill. Trevor made the executive decision to just leave the bikes at the paved path and to do the dirt on foot. As we were hiking along, I said "wait, did Ava push her BIKE up this hill (because we did not see her bike)????" About 200m up, we saw Ava's bike parked along a marker, so we knew she was close! Then, at the end of the path, we saw her - STRONG GIRL!!
So we walked back, looking for Piper, but like the other two trips, were unsuccessful. This does always seem like a bummer, but it is a lesson to realize that negative data does have value, because while Trevor knew there was a good possibility there wouldn't be Piper out there, he still had to prove it.
On the way back, we saw the actual ant hill for a leaf-cutter ant colony! Jeremy did a little interview for me:
Then once we got back to the ambient lab, we still had processing to do. We took leaves and cut samples of them for genomic analysis (what Trevor will do). This took us until about 4:30, and then Ava, Jacob, Jack and I did some extra work continuing to photograph and catalogue (in exchange for ice cream that Dani got for us - they really, really need the data recorded before we leave).
AH - as I was looking through my google drive for pictures to upload, I found the picture that Jack, Grayson and Jeremy took OF THE SLOTH THEY FOUND AT NIGHT!!!
Okay, I will leave you all with a another fun thing made by the kids