Mission accomplished … phase one, at least

Two weeks after crisscrossing the Dominican Republic from one compass extreme to another, the Baseline Caribbean team delivered their collection of reef fossils and modern reef sediments — all 800kg of it — to Santo Domingo’s Las Américas International Airport for shipping to Panama.

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Erin and Félix carefully pack the crates at the Santo Domingo airport.

In all, the expedition logged about 1,500km on the road, three full field days exploring fossil reefs, 14 dives on modern reefs, two birthdays (Aaron had his b-day, too) — and only a couple of upset tummies from the mystery meat dishes and/or the choppy seas.

The 18 crates of samples include 65 large bulk bags and 130 small ones. “There are a lot of steps you have to go through to get them shipped,” said Erin. “Filling out papers with customs, checking the permits, waiting around, sending the samples through customs where some get randomly opened, and then packing them up nicely.”

If all goes as planned, the samples should arrive for analysis at the lab of STRI staff scientists Aaron O’Dea in the next few days. Then the “real” work begins — finding and identifying all the corals, dermal denticles and other traces of past and modern Caribbean reef in those bulk bags will take many months. But let’s not remind the team of that until everyone gets a much deserved rest after two nonstop weeks on the road!

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Phase two: 800 kilograms of lab work

 

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