Field Frame Friday: Who else hates stopping on a road trip?

Each year gray whales migrate about 10,000 miles each direction moving from Mexico to Alaska and back. As they migrate north, the whales will stop occasionally to rest or feed, but as they migrate south, it appears they do not stop. [Photo and caption by Alycia Drwencke] Reference: Pike, G. C. (1962). Migration and feeding…

Field Frame Friday: PhD with a minor in construction

“You learn many different skills in graduate school; my favorite and most useful by far are construction skills! I designed and built 24 enrichment devices for my PhD and got so popular frequenting the local hardware store that they even gave me a 10% discount on PVC pipe!” [Photo and caption by Karli Chudeau] [Edited…

Field Frame Friday: Primate Party

Our very own ABGGer, Nalina, observes social interactions among free-ranging macaques at Wat khao Tamon, Petchaburi province in Thailand with the aim to link their social connectedness with their tuberculosis infections. The long-tailed macaque lives in urban areas and is in close proximity to human settlements, which could lead to disease spillover from humans. This special long-tailed macaque is…

Field Frame Friday: Mouse + Lemur, What Could Be Cuter?

Mouse lemurs (Genus Microcebus) are the smallest primates and are found throughout Madagascar. These small primates may be some of the most adaptable lemurs, because they can live in small forest fragments that are much colder and drier than their typical home. [Photos and caption by Meredith Lutz] Reference: Andriambeloson, J. B., Blanco, M. B., Andriantsalohimisantatra,…

Field Notes: Mud, Poop, and Bees – A Pilot Study on Swamp Gorillas

Lake Télé is striking on the map. It’s a near-perfect blue circle in a sea of green. Yet it is not this peculiar shape, nor the rich biodiversity of the surrounding forest [1], that it is known for. Instead, it has its very own mysterious monster, Mokele Mbembe. Not to discount the importance of legend…

Field Frame Friday: Some snail mail for you!

There are 284 species representing 30 families of land snails and slugs currently described as living within the geographic boundaries of California. Now that’s what I call a snail-dense state! [Photo and caption by Alycia Drwencke] Reference: Sullivan, R. M. (2021). Phylogenetic relationships among subclades within the Trinity bristle snail species complex, riverine barriers, and…

Field Frame Friday: Fat Bats

Bats (Order Chiroptera), like this bat from Madagascar’s eastern rainforests, are important contributors to their ecosystem. In Madagascar, insectivorous bats consume insects that are detrimental to rice crops, a staple of Malagasy cuisine. Meredith photo-caught this bat on her trail camera set up for her fieldwork in Madagascar (read more about her work in this…

Creature Feature: Ghost Shark

If you were to hand a toddler a crayon and ask them to draw a shark, chances are you might end up getting something that resembles the ghost shark! First caught on film in 2016, this creepy critter has been eluding the paparazzi for decades. Confusingly, ghost sharks, as they are colloquially called, are not…

Field Notes: Cattle Grazing is AMAZING!

I arrive at my beautiful field site in the Sierra Foothills a couple days before it begins. I help the folks that work at the research station move my willing subjects, adult female cows, close to where I will be conducting my assessments. I’m reminded that moving cows (or really any field work involving animals) takes longer…

Field Frame Friday: Snake is king

The California kingsnake (Lampropeltis californiae) is a wide-foraging generalist predator which feeds on a variety of prey items including small mammals, lizards, birds, and even other snakes. Though this species is broadly, anecdotally known for preying on venomous rattlesnakes, recent studies highlight dietary composition reflective of seasonal and geographically available prey [1]. In the photo,…

Creature Feature: Saiga Antelope

The saiga antelope, also known as Mongolian saiga (Saiga tatarica), is a little-known species of antelope, recognizable by its distinctive facial features. While saiga antelope once inhabited Mongolia, the extant (i.e. current) populations of saiga antelope live in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and a small part of Russia. These antelope once ranged from France all the way…

Field Frame Friday: Confetti Heads for Science

Sometimes the smallest changes can make the biggest difference in research! In rehabilitation, elephant seals get these nifty “hat tags” so that when there are a lot of seals in one pen, we can easily identify who is who with minimal disturbance (they like to sleep all piled together, and being sick, they like to…

Field Frame Friday: Someone turn up the heat!

Rock Hyraxes (Procavia capensis), elephant’s closest land relative, are grumpy little floofs with poor thermoregulation (the ability to regulate their body temperature). Luckily they are gregarious and to keep warm, pile on top of each other in burrows until the sun comes out, then take their cuddle puddle outside to bask in the sun together….

Field Frame Friday: The Beauty of Binoculars

Anyone who’s done field work will likely agree: nature photography is super hard! This photo here was taken with a smart phone, through a pair of binoculars! If you look closely, you can spot a moustached tamarin (Saguinus mystax). Not picture here: four other tamarins further along the branch! [Photo and caption by Allison Lau]…

Field Notes: A Change of Scene

Science takes place in all sorts of circumstances, and for me, those circumstances are usually inside of a lab. They are also often spread across multiple facilities and at very odd hours of the day (or night), and those are entire research stories of their own. Nonetheless, one of my favorite things about research is…

Creature Feature: Acorn Woodpecker

In the early spring mists of the California coast, deep within hilly oak and evergreen forests, their voices cut through the morning air. Calls emerge from somewhere in the treetops, ascending in pitch and volume: Ackah, Ackah, Ackah! ACKAH!”

Field Frame Friday: I don’t feel like sciencing today

In animal behavior research, we are often at the mercy of our animal collaborators. Acai, a harbor seal in rehabilitation, was uninterested in checking out this PVC puzzle in the water as a part of her cognitive tests. While frustrating that she didn’t want to participate, her behavior still provides valuable information that can help…

Creature Feature: Mandrills

If you’ve ever seen the Lion King, you may remember Rafiki, the wise Mandrill. Read this article to learn more about very colorful and socially complex Mandrills!

Field Frame Friday: Observe! The meadowhawk!

The variegated meadowhawk, Sympetrum corruptum, is a migratory perching dragonfly found in much of North America and parts of South America. It is known to perch on twigs and bushes, as well as on the ground or long grasses, hence the name “meadowhawk.” Like many other dragonflies in the family Libellulidae, it hunts small flying insects and…

Field Notes: Urban Cat-astrophes

Many of my colleagues have lived alongside nature since birth, but I grew up in Seoul, Korea, where people rarely pass a tree on their way to work, and their exposure to nature generally begins and ends with household pets. Although I came to grad school thinking that my interest in animals and nature might…

Field Frame Friday: Cicada Chimney

What’s this mud spire doing in the middle of the jungle? Some cicada species, like the creator of this muddy tiny tower here, build mud chimneys to protect themselves from predators and harsh weather like rainforest storms! [Photo and caption by Allison Lau] Béguin, C. F. (2020). The Nymph Architect of the Cicada Guyalna chlorogena:…

Field Frame Friday: Still & Stealthy Herons

The great blue heron (Ardea herodias) is a major predator of salmon and one of the many dangers that out-migrating juveniles face (Sherker et. al. 2021). The largest North American heron, this bird hunts in shallow water environments like marshes, floodplains, and even agricultural fields. They wade incredibly slowly through the water and often remain still for…

Sci Hero: Ada, Countess of Lovelace

The Ethogram believes that science should be accessible and diverse in order to increase the sense of belonging within the science community. Each month we highlight a “Sci Hero” so the next generation of scientists and naturalists may be inspired.

Field Frame Friday: First, let me take a shelf-ie

In this photo, Kirsten is in the process of, well, taking a selfie. But JUST before this, she was installing some fancy Raspberry Pi’s (small computers) and cameras onto their custom shelving rack… using a decidedly not-fancy sliding-door transition strip to mount the cameras! Animal behavior experiments are often a wonderful combination of high-tech gear and random…