Thursday, May 5, 2011

Fieldwork in Tarrazú

I'm spending a few weeks in the central highlands of Costa Rica, conducting research in an ongoing project I'm conducting with Earthwatch Institute and a local coffee farmers cooperative (CoopeTarrazu). The focus this year is on pollinators, and especially on the importance of nearby forest fragments on coffee yields and the abundance and diversity of bees visiting coffee. Fieldwork activities include sampling bee/wasp diversity and abundance in and around coffee fields, and manipulating pollinator access to flowers in order to compare the effects of wind vs. insect pollination on yields. This week, I've got a group of volunteers from the global firm Ernst & Yield helping out in the field- we're spending the mornings putting up insect traps in coffee fields and nearby forests, and the afternoons in the lab sorting the insects captured from the previous days' traps. The volunteers (ten of them) are also working with the local coffee cooperative in an effort to help them develop their social corporate responsibility protocols. The group will be here a total of eight days; another group of volunteers arrives this weekend, and we'll continue collecting data on more farms throughout next week.

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