Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Research Topics

Today was our first couple of hikes on the trails at CICRA. Going into this experience, I really had no idea what to expect. I had a cartoon illustration with monkeys swinging on vines and colorful beetles surrounding us, but I was not far off. We walked through a rainforest full of life: everything was alive! The birds and the monkeys could be seen jumping around on the trees, filling the jungle with their calls. It didn’t take long to train my eyes to see smaller details. Uncovering a plant to reveal miniature ecosystems. Life depending on life. 

As we uncovered different plants and logs, I started to wonder about the chemistry behind the insects and their ecosystems. What was attracting these particular bugs to these particular plants? As a microbiologist, I wondered about the biochemistry of the nectar of the plants and what kind of microbes they attract. I began to discover how many research topics the rain forest had to offer. For example, the diversity of microbes in gold-mined rivers versus non gold-mined river near CICRA. All of these questions have yet to be answered and leave plenty of scientific opportunities for Amazon microbiology and ecology.