Field Frame Friday: Lessons on the Range

Vegetation sampling is a crucial part of research involving rangeland cattle grazing. It is a way to quantify how much and of what type forage cattle are consuming throughout the grazing season. It can help range and animal scientists understand grazing patterns and preferences of cattle while also looking at the environmental impact of grazing…

Field Frame Friday: Inside Out Lunch

Seastars literally turn inside out when they are feeding! To start their meal, stars will force open the shell of the invertebrate (such as the cockle shown here) using their underbelly suction discs, after which they insert their stomach through their mouth parts and into the shell. The stomach will secrete digestive juices that breakdown…

Field Frame Friday: Plumbing Project or Pinniped Puzzle?

Before my field season, my garage turns into a Santa’s workshop- if Santa were a seal and the workshop made only food puzzles. Prepping for my field season means lots of trips to the hardware store and getting confused looks from the employees on why I have my arms full of PVC pipes while I…

Field Frame Friday: Shake that tail feather!

Spotted on the border of Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo, this male African Paradise Flycatcher (Terpsiphone viridis) uses his long tail feathers to attract a mate, for life. During the mating season his 2 central tail feathers will grow to be 30 cm (or almost a foot) long, so that he can put on…

Field Frame Friday: Harbor Seal Class of 2021

The best part of my field season is seeing the subjects that I worked with while they were in rehabilitation get released back into the ocean! These harbor seal pups came to The Marine Mammal Center (MMC) in Sausaltio, CA as young as a few days old, malnourished, and separated from their moms. But after…

Field Frame Friday: Don’t stick so close to me!

Ever been tidepooling and poked your finger in a squishy sea anemone just to see its petal-like arms grasp your finger? You may have noticed a somewhat sticky feeling as you shake those arms free, but how can something be sticky underwater? That sticky sensation you feel are actually nematocysts, which are microscopic stinging cells…

Field Frame Friday: The Sum of It’s Parts

It is pretty amazing the amount of enrichment supplies “The Manatee” (the name of my trusty Prius) can hold! While all this equipment may not look anything like what a seal interacts with in the ocean, to quote Aristotle, “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” From PVC pipes to milk crates…

Field Frame Friday: Sugar Rush Memories

Rainbow lorikeets (Trichoglossus moluccanus) are nectarivores (i.e. feed on nectar, pollen, flowers, and soft fruits) that use contingencies to remember what flowers they have recently fed at, so they do not waste energy returning to a nectar-depleted flower. This requires cognitive abilities to encode, retain and integrate relevant information while foraging! [Photo and caption by…

Field Frame Friday: Caterpillars, Masters of Disguise!

Like many caterpillars in the family Papilionidae, spicebush swallowtails (Papilio troilus) are masters of deception. Young caterpillars mimic bird poop, while older caterpillars scare predators off with intimidating fake eyes (aka “eyespots”). During the day, they rest inside carefully constructed leaf rolls. The one you see above was made on one of its host-plants: sassafras (Sassafras albidum)….