By Melissa Abdo, February 28, 2009
On Saturday’s market day we made a much-needed trip to the local markets to restock on supplies, and pick up fresh fruit to keep our bodies healthy for our expedition. Marlon, Ken, and I checked out the lively market and found some sweet grapefruit, hand bananas, oranges, and Jamaican apples in season and stocked up for the week. We made it back just in time to pull our laundry off the clothesline before the afternoon rain…
I managed to run some preliminary analyses while stuck indoors, and am thrilled to report that we have already collected, documented, and prepared at least 640 scientific plant specimens- in addition to numerous propagules already representing a healthy, robust horticultural collection. Astoundingly, our hard work has already yielded critically important collections of plants- including many endemics- and provided growing evidence of the importance of biodiversity conservation of Jamaica’s Cockpit Country.
Saturday made it the second consecutive afternoon of heavy rain. This is the dry season in this part of the Cockpit, but it seems the weather front coming down is causing the afternoon precipitation. Data connection and communication is tricky here (to say the least) so it is hard to get reliable weather updates, but Keron’s apt instinctive knowledge of his environment got everyone turned back in the nick of time before the rain on Friday.
While the rain certainly impacts fieldwork, it is on the other hand beneficial to our horticultural propagules collection as it provides moisture in the microenvironment in our makeshift field nursery. Marlon and Ken have done an amazing job keeping the propagules alive and happy; their green thumbs and expertise are great.