Monday, 6 February 2012

Hasta la vista México!

Crimson-patched Longwing (Heliconius erato petiverana)
[Photo: Paul Ramsay]
Conservation biology students have now returned from Mexico after a great field course. Highlights included:
  • Several days in the Dr Alfredo Barrera Marin Botanical Garden, identifying forest trees and observing spider monkeys, iguanas, and a host of others organism
  • Forest survey in mahogany plantations and hurricane-damaged natural forest
  • Environmental impacts in Mahahual, a tourist hotspot on the coast
  • A boat trip among the mangroves of Laguna Guerrero searching for manatees (none seen this year, but lots of dolphins)
  • Experiments on the aggressive behaviour of acacia ants, Pseudomysrmex
  • Observations of leaf-cutter ants
  • Mayan ruins for bird watching (and a display from noisy howler monkeys)
  • The largest zoology museum in tropical Mexico and a close look at stingless forest bees at ECOSUR’s research facility
  • A day off with sun, food, beer and the largest stromatolites on Earth in the Laguna Bacalar 
  • Two piñatas: one as a late New Year’s Eve celebration, the other for a birthday!

Plymouth in January can hardly compete with tropical Mexico for biodiversity and colour, but at least we have our experiences and photos!
Mangrove ecology at the beach
[Photo: Paul Ramsay]
Bird-watching in Laguna Guerrero
[Photo: Paul Ramsay]

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