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Globetrotting: Kristina Schegel

Globetrotting: Kristina Schegel
schlegel_postI’m standing on Pipeline, a muddy, puddle-filled road that runs through Soberania National Park in Panama.

Dr. Mike Ryan, doctoral student Rachel Page, post doc Kim Hoke, and I came to the road to look for the “foam nests” of túngara frogs. Male túngaras whip-up the meringue-like nests, which hold eggs deposited by their mates, through the eggbeater actions of their hind legs. The nests shine like bright white globes around the forest floor (and in ditches, puddles and anywhere else the frogs can find water). Mike has studied behavioral ecology and communication in túngara frogs for over 30 years.

While on the road, we were constantly—and quite happily—distracted by a cacophony of rainforest sounds and the amazing diversity of life surrounding us. Howler monkeys roared their ancient warnings to each other while capuchin monkeys and sloths looked on. Technicolor butterflies and birds fluttered and flitted across the road and through the forest.

I’m here at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute’s Gamboa Field Station to illustrate frog brains for scientific publications and presentations, and to help put together a memorial library at the field station for the late Dr. Stan Rand, STRI herpetologist and a longtime collaborator of Mike’s. My work here is wonderful, but I couldn’t have been happier by this distraction at Pipeline…

Wish you were here,
Kristina

Kristina Schlegel is a graphic designer and scientific illustrator in the School of Biological Sciences. Read her STRI trip blog.
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Thursday, 15 April 2021

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