From the beginning of our time here we jumped right into field work, working with a PhD student to study the molecular biology of reptiles and amphibians. For the past two nights, we set off to Doi Saket at 6 pm for some night-time rainforest trekking. We collected frogs, tadpoles, and any lizards that we saw to take home to the lab to build a genome for common species in Thailand. Being in the middle of the rainforest late at night with nothing but headlamps and a guide who spoke broken English was definitely one of the most surreal experiences I've had. I've never seen so much life - in every inch of my vision I could see a tree, fern, vine, frog, lizard, fungus, moss, or one of thousands of types of insects that filled the forest. It was beautiful! Thais are so brave, too - on the second night we visited ponds only on the side of the road, and when I asked why our guide said simply, "Oh, this is the habitat of the King Cobras." What?!! A very large portion of my brain had the sudden urge to run to the car right then! I felt safe, though, being in the presence of experienced locals who know the forest well. It's been fun, exciting, and informative with just a hint of danger - but who doesn't like danger? I'm loving this experience so much and learning a lot. We are going to be extracting DNA and running PCRs on the tissues we have collected next week. I can't wait for the next field trip. Who knows, maybe I'll catch a glimpse of a King Cobra… -Miranda
Searching for tadpoles in a forest pond - as the rainy season is breeding season for many frog species in Thailand, they were not difficult to find.