GEOS 405 students return from research trip to Panama

May 18, 2016

Students take Spring semester data-collecting trip.

GEOS 405 is the capstone course for Environmental Geosciences and Environmental Studies students – a total of 300 students.  The course requires student research, with faculty instructing students in the research and writing process. 

For the Spring semester, students took field trips to collect data for their projects – including Panama.

The trip included 5 days at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute’s (STRI’s) Bocas del Toro Research Station (BRS), and 2 days in STRI’s Barro Colorado Island Research Station (CBI) in the Panama Canal Zone.

There was a great response from the students, particularly Lorena Cisneros.

“Being the only one of the TAMU group fluent in Spanish, Lorena was extremely helpful and selfless throughout the trip. Not only was Lorena fearless in approaching people and asking for help, but she did so enthusiastically. The trip would NOT have run so smoothly were it not for Lorena”, says Geology & Geophysics professor Ethan Grossman.

The students sampled waters for an ocean acidification study, deployed water samplers, filled bottles, recorded information, and took GPS readings.

Many of the students spent additional time studying the wildlife – including spider and howler monkeys, coati, anteater, agouti, and toucans.

The group also participated in a boat tour of the tropical rainforest in Bahia Honda, ate a traditional lunch from the Ngabe indigenous people, and learned about cacao farming and chocolate production.

“Just ask the students. They were engaged, excited, and educated. Besides learning about marine and terrestrial ecology, and environments and human impact, they learned about Latin American cultures and living conditions. Their projects will test for human impacts on Bocas del Toro waters, and hopefully add to our understanding of this fragile environment”, Professor Grossman adds.

“I hope this experience will impact their life long after graduating Texas A&M University.”

By: Andrew Vernon '06