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 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,…

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…