Field Notes: It takes a village

After last year’s field season was canceled because of the pandemic followed by a full year of virtual meetings, conferences, socializing, and the never-ending pinging of emails in my inbox, sitting at my laptop was about the very last place I wanted to be at the start of summer. Contrarily, being in the fog of the Marin Headlands,…

Field Frame Friday: To eat or to save for later, the eternal question

A very familiar sight for us up here at Davis, I believe this here’s a Fox Squirrel (Sciurus niger). These squirrels assess nut quality through handling and then make decisions on whether to cache the nut for later or eat it right away depending on its overall value. I also learned from an opening talk…

Field Frame Friday: Slug Appreciation Day ft. The Banana Slug

If you are at all familiar with hiking in the woods of central and northern California, you may have come across an octopus’s terrestrial mollusk relative, the California banana slug (Ariolimax californicus)! Banana slugs have a mucousy membrane covering their body that is essential for breathing, mating, and deterring predators. This golden, slimy, charismatic invertebrate…

Creature Feature: Hawk moth

At first glance, the animal hovering near the flower looks like a hummingbird. She is colorful with whirring wings and can fly at speeds up to 25 miles per hour [1]. A closer look, however, reveals that she is a white-lined sphinx moth (Hyles lineata). Unlike many bees, she cannot bite or sting you [1]….

Field Frame Friday: Sun’s Out Tongue’s Out

Did you know that dairy calves perform a wide variety of oral behaviors? In this photo, you can see the calf beginning to stick her tongue out, right before she performs a tongue flicking behavior. These behaviors have been previously associated with coping with stress and can indicate frustration! Current work in the dairy industry seeks to…

Field Notes: Risky Business

Read all about how California ground squirrels assess risk in a human-dominated environment with our newest Field Notes piece by our own ABGGer Chelsea Ortiz.

Field Frame Friday: Come on kiddo, momma needs a snack!

Most seal species have enough stored energy to be able to fast during nursing periods, staying out of the water for up to 6 weeks without food. Harbor seal (Phoca vitulina) moms, on the other hand, will take their pups on foraging trips while the pups are still nursing- sometimes even hours after birth! [Photo…

Field Frame Friday: Squirrels vs. snakes

California ground squirrels (Otospermophilus beecheyi) have an immunity to rattlesnake venom which they slowly develop as they become adults. Thus, adult California ground squirrels will fight off snakes to protect their pups from harm. However, when highly stressed, that immunity is lowered making them more susceptible to rattlesnake bites. [Photo and caption by Chelsea Ortiz] Holding, M….

Field Notes: California Plants and Pollinators

At least 87.5% of flowering plant species rely on animal pollinators such as bees, birds, bats and butterflies for help with reproduction [1]. Plant-pollinator mutual relationships contribute to biodiversity, ecosystem stability, and promote food security through crop pollination [2]. Much of the food and medicine we use comes from plants that need pollinators to reproduce….