Our last full day in Ukraine, and our last day in the field. Even if all our goals were achieved last night with the catch of more treefrogs in a new locality, there were still some few things to finish for us. We released all the frogs, and completed our environmental microbiome sampling by adding two more localities. We never stop working in the field!!

Early in the morning, we worked in the lab with the fire-bellied toads collected the previous morning, and the treefrogs from the night. Quick photos, measures, and tissue sampling for genetic analyses, and we were finished. Our last task in the Slavutych lab for this season.

After this, we get into the car and moved to the place were we caught the toads the previous morning for a quick release. And from this, more drive to the place were we caught the treefrogs.

With the release of the treefrogs, all amphibians caught this year were back to their original ponds. A great feeling!! It was time for sampling environmental microbiome here, the locality number twenty of our study!! Another fantastic set of samples we have collected this year 🙂

From here, we had another long drive towards the south, to reach one of the last localities visited last year, for a final round of environmental microbiome sampling. On arrival, we surprised a big male moose (Alces alces). And we get into the waders for a final time.

Everything was finally done. Twenty one localities sampled for environmental microbiome, all amphibians collected and sampled. Everything as we wanted, everything as we dreamed when planning the season from the office in Spain. It couldn’t have gone better. Such an incredible joy!!

It was time for a team photo, as in all the previous years. As always, it has been a pleasure to work with Pablo and Sergey. Amazing work done, and even better atmosphere, always positive, always with a smile in our faces, in the lab, in the ponds, jumping around off-road with the car… And learning everyday something new from Sergey and his long history of research and life in Chernobyl for the last 33 years. Our days with him, are no doubt among the highlights of our research year!!

Tomorrow it will be time in the morning to pack our things in the lab: cameras, tripods, headlamps, tubes, samples, and the like. Around noon we will say bye to Sergey, the Chornobyl Centre, and Slavutych. Until next time!! Someone will drive us to Kiev airport, where we will take a late plane to Madrid, arriving at midnight. We will have the night and following morning to enjoy Madrid and celebrate the success of the trip!!

More tomorrow, for some of the final histories of our campaign of research with Chernobyl amphibians!!

Have a good day!!