Costa Rica #6: Testing our Hypotheses

Ari Santos ’25 and Diego Soto Lopez ’24, recount a day of exploration and research at Campanario.

On the fifth day of our Costa Rica adventure, and second full day at Campanario, we started off the early morning with a group meditation session overseeing the beautiful ocean view, and the jungle below, during sunrise. We then heard a bell ring and knew it was time for breakfast, omelets and, of course, rice and beans. After breakfast, we tested our hypothesis from last night through exploration and research.

I, Ari, counted ants today with Barack and Chandler in order to answer the question of “at what time of day are Leaf-cutter ants most actively bringing leaves back to their nest.” Prior to observing, we hypothesized that the ants would be most active around mid day because of the lack of predators at this time. We could not have been more wrong. We counted the number of ants that passed a stick placed beside the ant “highway” for five minutes every hour to gage the activity. It was very interesting to see how the ants activity reacted to the weather and temperature at different times of day. The ants were most active in the evening because the air was cooler , and they were least active at mid-day when the sun was beaming, and the air was cooler, and they were least active at mid-day when the sun was beaming and the air was hot.

I, Diego, studied the Golden Orbis spider, along with Morgan, Clara, and Ethan. We found that the females are very large, especially in comparison to the males, and they block trails with their huge webs! We stumbled across Coatis barging into compost bins, Scarlet Macaws atop the tallest trees of the forest, and creeks that I happened to stumble into. We ate coconuts, some fresh ones straight off the palm trees, with tasty, tender meat. We even cracked open older ones already on the forest floor.

As a group, we were at our strongest today (and it’s only beginning), loving every moment of the trip, and we’re all excited for the Cano Island Wild Life Reserve, where we’ll be snorkeling among the coral reef and its ecosystem. But before that, we ended off tonight’s night by walking down to the beach. We made a circle and, in silence, resonated with our dark surroundings, feeling the roar of the waves and the jungle surrounding us. Then, we searched for our favorite seashells and exchanged them with someone we appreciated during the trip along with a sweet, and true compliment.