Friday, January 30, 2015

OTS Fern Course

I just got back from spending three weeks in Costa Rica, attending a special course on Tropical Ferns and Lycophytes from the Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS). This course was first offered in the 1960s, and not again until 2008. I went on the 2008 course as a student, and returned this time as a visiting faculty member. We spent a few days in San Jose and then a week each at two OTS field stations, Las Cruces in the southern part of the country, and La Selva north of San Jose in lowland rainforest.

Las Cruces is particularly fun for the bird life, and many beautiful species show up for the daily offering of bananas outside the dining hall:

Blue-crowned motmot
Male green honeycreeper
Silver-throated tanager
Speckled tanager
And now just a few of the dozens (possibly hundreds) of ferns we saw over the course of three weeks...
Tiny sporophytes of Asplenium holophlebium
Hymenophyllum sporangia with green spores apparent 

Two members of Gleicheniaceae, Sticherus (darker green) and Gleicheniella (lighter green)
An tree tipup with incredibly dense fern gametophytes