Forest Speaks


Life at the top

Getting there: A construction crane in Panama City's Metropolitan Park carries scientists up into the tree tops.
Greg Gilbert (visiting scientist) prefers to use mountain climbing gear to reach the highest branches.
Gerhard Zotz (visiting scientist) measures photosynthesis from the construction crane: Intense tropical sunlight makes the forests here some of the most productive plant communities in the world.
Very little light reachs the soil under the canopy. Bettina Englebrecht (graduate student) is interested in the ability of plants to survive in different environments.
Milton Garcia (research technician) collecting insects: An amazing variety of insects, some of them still unknown, live in this leafy world.

A kinkajou...some of the animals living in the tree tops are almost never seen on the forest floor.

Cactuses, orchids and other plants that can survive a dry season with almost no water live on tree branches. Patricia Bermejo (project assistant) records information about greenhouse-grown plants.