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 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…

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 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…

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…

Field Frame Friday: Cowry Currency

The appearance of an unexpected visitor during field work is always a treat . . . this one, a humpback cowry (Cypraea mauritiana), was found on the windward side of Oʻahu during a survey of benthic (bottom-dwelling) organisms along a rocky stretch of coast. Cowries are marine snails with smooth, often brightly patterned shells. The…

Field Frame Friday: Tiny bee, tiny bee, what are they feeding you?

Some bees are so small that to identify them, one needs to look at them through the lens of a microscope. This little specimen is a male Lasioglossum dispersum, a type of sweat bee found in the caribbean. The second part of their name (or specific epithet)  refers to how dispersed the species is. It can be…

Field Frame Friday: Safety First

Field work can often be an adventurous endeavor and planning for the possibility of problems is just as important as preparing for exciting research. At UC Davis, there is an entire Field Safety Research Team dedicated to facilitating safe field research. The field safety team provides consultations on how to minimize risk while in the field. One…

Field Frame Friday: Bonus Barn Cats!

One of the cool things about visiting Dairy Farms is all the extra critters that live there!  Many dairy farms have feral or barn cats that live on the property. They help to catch mice, in between taking cute naps like this! [Photo and caption by Isabelle McDonald-Gilmartin] [Edited by Maggie Creamer]