To hit the ground running in a new postdoctoral position this December, Molly, Kim, Elicio, and I flew out to Lima, filled up our trusty rented Hilux with supplies, and then set out up over the Andes to Oxapampa, Peru, catching some snow at the top (5200 m). On the way back down the other side of the mountains, a double decker bus decided to back up into us in the toll booth without looking behind it. The police were less than direct about giving us a police report for the insurance coverage, so that took a while. We got back on the road but soon retreated to alternative lodging after discovering a landslide at midnight. The next morning, we made it to Oxapampa safely and went looking for a good cup of coffee.
We spent a few very successful days in the field collecting eggs, tadpoles, and adults of the two species of interest in this area, including celebrating New Years Eve with some amplexed toads laying eggs in our hands at midnight as we skipped back to our hotel. Then, while Molly holed up in the hotel to run hearing tests on the toads we collected, Elicio, Kim, and I were hard at work constructing basic breeding facilities. The goal of this setup is to get enough specimens of each of the developmental stages we need for the research in 2-3 families for each species.
We have teamed up with Florencia Trama, Federico Rizo Patrón, and Pancho Arroyo at the Centro de Capacitación en Conservación y Desarrollo Sostenible (“CDS“), a new field station in the San Alberto watershed that is owned and operated by Florencia and Federico. The facilities available there are perfect for our tadpole aquaria pavilion and some outdoor enclosures.
Bonus: Oxapampa is quite beautiful with perfect weather and a very interesting history.