Thursday, September 6, 2012

Beatriz Otero - Of mice and coffee

 What is the effect of different agricultural practices on the population structure of animals? How does the population structure vary (or not) between different management practices? Which ones serve as better matrices? These are some of the questions I am interested in and to help answer them I spent 9 weeks in a coffee farm in Mexico collecting ear tissue samples from a common mouse species.

This is my attempt of a illustrated chronicle of my field season...

View from Finca Irlanda one of my sampling sites in Chiapas, Mexico. This summer I collected ear tissue samples from Heteromys desmarestianus (Demarest's spiny pocket mouse) in coffee farms and adjacent forested fragments. 
These are some pictures H. desmarestianus. They are one of the most common species rodent species found in moist forest areas from Mexico to Panama.

This genus can be recognized by the pocket it has next to it's mouth. In this picture you can see the full pocket.

After collecting the tissue samples, they were stored in buffer to keep the DNA from deteriorating. I brought my samples back to Michigan and now I am in the process of extracting the DNA.


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  2. Is the purpose of collecting tissue samples from the ear is a common rat species?