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 Notes: Diary from a First Field Season

Hi there! Jessica here. I’m starting this diary to log the tribulations and triumphs of my PhD research on shorebirds in the Eastern Sierra Nevada. Always exciting, grueling, and full of surprises, field season is my favorite part of the year . . . however, the first field season of a new project can be…

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…