On the days that we climb, we get up at 5:30am. I (Providence) share a room with Lindsay and Shannon, and we live next door to Thomas. So, we get up, get out field clothes on, and head over to cafeteria for breakfast.
Killing the fashion game with our field clothes look? Snake boots, button ups and mosquito nets are so legit.
We then head out to our trees for the day, and climb! It takes about 20-30 minutes to climb up a tree, and then we spend about 4 hours in the tree taking measurements, IDing plants and collecting samples.
The view from the canopy... not a bad place to work.
Cat, 100ft in the canopy.
Prov taking some data. Data collecting at it's finest, 100ft in the air.
Rigo Rigo Rigo! Rigo is a local field assistant who helps us rig every single tree. He makes sure we're safe during every climb, and without him, this project would be insanely more difficult.
Carrie and Sarah during Sarah's very first minutes in the tree!
The crew, pre-climb.
Lindsay, pulling down her line post-climb. We work hard, ladies and gents.
Even when you're pushing papers, the view's pretty nice.
Shannon during her ascent into the canopy.
So, WHY exactly are we doing this? We're student researchers, working on the 5th year of a 5 year long study that's being run by Cat and Carrie. Every week for the last 5 years, two field assistants from Costa Rica named Rigo and Ralph, climb our 9 trees and treat each of our branches with one of 5 different nutrient types (Nitrogen, Phosphorous, Nitrogen and Phosphorus, Water or no treatment [control]). We're looking to see how epiphytes will respond to the changes in nutrients that we're exposing them to. This is important because the changes in these nutrient levels is predicted by climate change, and epiphytes in the canopy will be among the first plant species to experience the effects of predicted climate change. This study will tell us a lot about the long term effects of climate change in the neotropics