Photo Essay 2017

Brianna Madden



Pura Vida!

Going to Costa Rica was an amazing experience. My family that I had was very welcoming even though they spoke very little English. We were still able to connect and communicate. While I was down in Costa Rica I went to Veritas Universidad and took a class called Conservation of Sharks and Rays and also did a Service Learning course. There was only one classroom designed for the science classes, which was a big surprise. I got to know the Tico students that did most of their research in this room and helped them when I was doing my Service Learning portion for class. After my one week of Service Learning, my Conservation of Sharks and Ray’s class started. We did 2 field trips. The first was to experience the rays and sharks in their natural habitat. We would catch the rays and would collect data from them. We measured them, weighted them, identified the sex, and what species they were. We would log this into our excel file to use for further research. The rays that we caught lived very close to the shore. Next, we took a boat and snorkeled the deeper parts of the ocean to see what other kinds of rays where living there. The view on the boat was absolutely exquisite and the scenery in Costa Rica was breath taking. The second part of our field trip we went to different fisheries. This was very sad to see many baby sharks caught like the hammerhead, and bull shark which are both endangered species. Our professor said that it is important to see both sides of the coin. The last thing that I had to do before my class was over was to a research presentation. I did mine over the Aetobatus laticeps, which is also known as the Spotted Eagle ray. This ray was beautiful! This ray we happened to see in the deeper parts of the ocean. I was able to film these rays to use for my research presentation. I am still currently working with my professor on my research to maybe be published. This would be an amazing opportunity to get my name out there in the scientific community. I am going to continue working to pursue my passion in working with exotic animals. This study abroad experience I believe has helped me get my foot in that door.


costa rica

butterfly ray