Check out this fun fact about Humpback whales!
Field Frame Friday: A Little Moo for You!
Jersey dairy calves (like the cutie seen here) are smaller than their Holstein counterparts, which are the black and white spotted dairy cows. Jerseys typically weigh around 60 pounds (27kg), compared to Holstein calves who can be born at over 100 lbs (45kg)! These are the two most common breeds of dairy cows in the…
Field Notes: Calves, collars and cuteness
You’d think that looking at baby animals all day would be the perfect job, but it certainly comes with some unique challenges… ______________________________________________________________________ I study abnormal behaviors in dairy cattle (for more info on what it’s like to do research at the Dairy, check out my previous field notes piece here), which we see performed…
Sunday Sketch: Two-headed Holstein
Check out this fun fact about naturally occurring two-headed animals!
Creature Feature: Three-toed Sloths
Here is a species that lives up to its namesake. Sloths are known for being extraordinarily slow, with a maximum speed of around 250 meters per hour moving amongst the trees . For comparison, humans tend to walk around 5000 meters per hour. Have you ever wondered why these animals are so, well, slothful? Let’s…
Science Heroes: Hedy Lamarr
It’s the mid-1910s and the bustling city of Vienna, Austria is alive with gossip about the end of World War I and the fall of the Habsburg Austrian-Hungarian empire. Zippers have recently been invented, freeing women to move about much more comfortably than while wearing their restricting, recently abandoned, corset-bound attire. In a Jewish neighborhood…
Sunday Sketch: Soaring Seagulls
Check out this fun fact about seagulls!
Field Frame Friday: Simply Ravenous
Common Ravens (Corvus corax) are famously smart, adaptable and opportunistic, and while these traits serve them well, they can often get them into trouble, too. What kind of trouble do you think the raven on the left got itself into to earn a bright blue tag and the attention of scientists? The tagged raven and…
Sunday Sketch: Tuna Crab
Check out this fun fact about tuna crabs!
Creature Feature: Seahorse
As orange sunlight begins to creep over the shallow seabed and scatter across the tropical water, seahorses emerge from their hiding spots within the gently-swaying marine vegetation. Before long, they wriggle toward one another, pairing up at predetermined rendezvous points and begin swimming up and down, tails oscillating side to side. The ritual dances have…
Sunday Sketch: Giddy Goats
In recent years, a popular way to help control overgrown vegetation is to hire world’s cutest gardener—the goat! Goats will eat woody vegetation and dry grasses, making them efficient at clearing a field. Studies have shown they have a positive influence on vegetation composition. Art by @heathertaylorsart, fact by Cassidy Cooper [Edited by Isabelle McDonald]…
Field Frame Friday: Who’s this chick??
A Spotted Sandpiper (Actitis macularius) chick shows off its shiny new leg band, which contains a unique ID number used by researchers to identify this individual. This chick will continue growing throughout the summer, migrate south for the winter, and perhaps return to its birthplace in the Mono Basin to breed next summer. [Photo and…
Field Notes: Chatting with Cetaceans
Throughout my scientific career, I have mainly studied our closest non-human primate relatives and their quirky behaviors (see my previous field notes here). However, when my graduate school advisor asked if I’d be interested in helping with a research project on humpback whales, I was excited at the prospect of starting something entirely new and…
Sunday Sketch: Fancy Foxes
Check out this fun Valentine’s fact about foxes!
Sunday Sketch: Portugese man of war
Check out this fun fact about the Portugese man of war!
Field Frame Friday: Turtle party!
Meet Testudo hermanni hermanni, a Mediterranean tortoise present in Italy, France and Spain. Its captive breeding was made necessary by the destruction of its native habitat. The challenge for current breeders, unlike most of the species bred as pets, is to maintain as much as possible the purity of the species, subspecies and, if possible,…
Sunday Sketch: Bashful Bunnies
Check out this fun fact about bunnies!
Creature Feature: Domestic Chicken
Learn more about the latest and greatest fowl to cross our desk!
Field Notes: The First of Many Lasts
As I pack up my car on a breezy August day, I take one last breath of the cool, ocean air filled with scents of sagebrush and eucalyptus, realizing that while this wouldn’t be my last trip to the Marin Headlands, this is the last time I will be collecting data for graduate school. —…
Sunday Sketch: The Great Gorilla
Check out this fun fact about gorillas!
Field Frame Friday: This is how I show my love – QUAIL
A California Quail (Callipepla californica) poses majestically on a shrub. California Quail participate in brood-mixing, where multiple female quail will raise multiple offspring (related and not-related) in communal family groups. It is suggested that females involved in communal family groups also live longer than those in single family groups. There are benefits of being a…
Sunday Sketch: Anatomy of a Narwhal
Check out this fun fact about narwhals!
Field Frame Friday: Flexy Fanaloka
Check out this trail cam photo of a spotted fanaloka (Fossa fossana) taken in Madagascar during Meredith Lutz’s field season. Spotted fanaloka adjust their activity patterns to avoid humans and invasive carnivores, like dogs, during seasons of increased human and dog activity. [Photo and Caption by Meredith Lutz] Reference: Farris, Z. J., Gerber, B. D.,…
Creature Feature: American black bear
We’re about to finish checking our bird traps at Tioga Pass when I spot it– a moving black lump in the upper right hand corner of my eye. We freeze. “Holy–” I say. “Is that…?” I slowly raise my binoculars. It is. Standing on a boulder, huffing its huge steaming snout in the morning air,…
Sunday Sketch: The Southern carmine bee-eater
Check out this fun fact about The Southern Carmine Bee-eater!
Field Notes: Four Field Perspectives
Field biology is almost always a team endeavor. Field crews often include people with different levels of experience and biological backgrounds—and each member brings something valuable to the team, from budding young scientists to experienced researchers. Going into the Summer of 2022, my second field season researching Spotted Sandpipers (Actitis macularius), I was nervous ….
Field Frame Friday: Where’s the beef? Being social!
Beef cattle are social creatures! They form complex social groups and hierarchies made up of close companions and individual acquaintances. Next time you are observing cattle grazing or driving through some pastures, check out their herd structures! [Photo and caption by Alycia Drwencke] Sowell, B. F., Mosley, J. C., & Bowman, J. G. P. (1999,…
Field Frame Friday: We all like a well-groomed friend
Grooming rituals are very common in macaques. Grooming not only keeps monkeys healthy, but it also reinforces social structures and bonds between animals. In this photo, a male macaque named Mario is grooming a female macaque named Gao-luck. [Photo and caption by Nalina Aiempichitkijkarn] Reference: Henazi, S. P., & Barrett, L. (1999). The value of…
Creature Feature: Wolf Spider
It’s getting closer to her. Subtle vibrations run up her brown legs, and the starlit flashes of the cricket’s movement reach her eight night-vision eyes. But she can’t strike yet. Too early, and the slender cricket will jump away with its powerful rear legs. Too late, and the cricket will discover her and change course….
Ask a Scientist: Aging Barnacles
How can you tell how old a barnacle is?
Field Notes: Monkey Identification
I study a group of free-ranging long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis) in Wat Khao Tamon, a Buddhist temple in the south of Thailand. I primarily focus on their social behavior, and my current project looks at relationships between their social behavior and the likelihood of contracting a tuberculosis infection. Tuberculosis is a deadly airborne respiratory disease…
Field Frame Friday: Mom’s Milk
This beef calf, with her mom hanging out closely in the background, will stay with her for multiple months on pasture before she gets weaned. Weaning is the process where her mother will not allow her to drink milk from her teats any more. This naturally happens around 6 months of age! [Photo and caption…
Sunday Sketch: Chickadee chanting
Check out this fun fact about chickadees!
Lesson Plan: Science Communication
Check out this third lesson in a three lesson series on science communication!
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…
Sunday Sketch: Witty Wolves
A fun fact about wolf behavior!
Lesson Plan: Building an Ethogram
Check out this second lesson in a three lesson series on using ethograms to study animal behavior!
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…
Lesson Plan: Asking Questions About Animal Behavior
Check out this first lesson in a three lesson series on using the scientific method to study animal behavior!
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,…
Arts & Crafts: Owl Oatmeal
Celebrate International Owl Awareness Day with this tasty creation!
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 , that it is known for. Instead, it has its very own mysterious monster, Mokele Mbembe. Not to discount the importance of legend…