We are alive!
The whole team are now safe and settled and starting work in Trinidad!
Apoligies for the delay – but we are now online! Let the story telling commence!
Gill, Tom and Roisin arrived with Roger on Monday evening to set up camp for the rest of the team arriving on Thursday there. Stepping out of the airport the breezey wave of heat welcomed us as we gazed on the Juarassic Park Mountains of The Northern Range. Accompanied by Paul Hoskisson a Strathclyde University lecturer of Microbiology, the pre-expedition party organised the cars and lab equipment including the gargantaun glass tanks for the Tree Frog Experiments. And then it was onwards for an adventure up Lopinot Road with Herpetologist John Murphy and his Research assistant Gabriel. Here the mini team explored the pools, normally favoured by Mannophyrne; however the rain was in short supply and few tadpoles were to be seen. Further along the road were ditches – prime habitat for finding the Physalemus pustulosus nests (see the frog in the image below – this one was captured lurking aboot an abandoned home! Dwelling in the walls!) Also at this spot were the foam nests of Leptodactylus fuscus, aka the whistling frog, which unlike the pustulosus which is visible on the surface of the water, this frog creates its foam nest in the clay soil next to the stream. In order to find this nest the ground must be gently poked (we used our dinner spoons!) til you can feel a hollow and see the foam which protects the eggs. Paul is collecting samples to take back to the UK to further examine as the foam is thought to have antibactieral properties; and it may be possible to use the proteases which make up the foam for skin grafting and wound healing treatment.
While looking for frogs and tadpoles in the Northern Range Mountains of Trinidad at Lopinot Village, locals were liming by the river, Bob Marley playing in the background – we paddled down stream and found a large Hyla boans nest of spawn surrounded by leaves – not a bad start! Samples are now in the lab at University of the West Indies.
The rest of the team arrived on Thursday afternoon safe and sound. Twas bold hairy ginger Mark’s 21st Birthday so a feast was had with pumpkin stew, beers and cake!