Dominican Republic

Coral and cacti: collecting fossils in Owl Canyon

It took a few wrong turns but we made the trip to the Cañon del Buho (Owl Canyon), on the shores of the Dominican Republic’s Lake Enriquillo.

Stay tuned for more updates and videos. Here are some photos from the field trip.



What do shark scales say about their owners?

In this shark tale for Save our Seas Foundation, Erin Dillon explains the characteristics of some of the shark scales found on four well-known shark species. Erin is pioneering a new technique that uses these scales, known as dermal denticles, found in modern reefs and the fossil record to study changes in shark abundance and community composition over time.

Cañon de Buho jpegs (8 of 9)

Erin carries a bulk bag of a fossil reef sediment from Cañon del Buho in the Dominican Republic on March 17, 2016. The ten-kilogram bag may hold some 25 tiny shark scales known as dermal denticles.


A quick sundown stop at a huge fossil reef

First stop before Jimani (1 of 3)

Erin, Félix, Aaron and Mauro take a quick look at fossil reefs excavated along the road around Lake Enriquillo

We reached the banks of Lake Enriquillo just before nightfall. A new road has been cut through the Holocene fossil reef — to circumvent the steadily rising hypersaline lake, which is 40 meters below sea level — and the spoil of fossils line the road for kilometers.  Acropora cervicornis (staghorn coral) is the dominant species found here, along with a variety of other coral species, snails and clams. Nightfall and a brief rain kept the exploratory visit short. The serious sampling begins tomorrow…

First stop before Jimani (2 of 3)

Erin and Mauro and fossil corals aplenty.