Field Frame Friday: PVC is marine mammal enrichment’s best friend.

This is what science looks like! That is if your science involves building enrichment puzzles for seals to help them learn how to forage for food! Enrichment and is a tool used to promote positive behaviors and provide cognitive stimulation to animals. This stimulus aims to encourage a species-typical “rock flipping” behavior in Hawaiian monk…

Field Frame Friday: Tummy temperature telemetry…for science!!!

Harbor seals (Phoca vitulina) can be an elusive species, especially concerning the weaning process (going from milk to prey) in pups. Using stomach temperature telemetry (sensor that can detect changes in stomach temperature), researchers could detect patterns of food ingestion in pups. The results showed that 63.7% of milk ingestions occurred while the pups were…

Field Frame Friday: Urchin and shrimp, the perfect roommate duo

Red slate-pencil urchins (Heterocentrotus mamillatus) often have permanent housemates (called obligate simbionts) a small shrimp (Levicaris mammillata) or the aptly-named red slate pencil urchin shrimp. While the relationship hasn’t been thoroughly researched, it seems that the shrimp keeps things nice and tidy, while the red-slate pencil urchin protects the shrimp from predators. [Photo and caption…

Field Frame Friday: World Lemur Festival!!

Although they may not look much like their more famous dancing sifaka cousins, woolly lemurs (Avahi) move by vertical clinging and leaping. Eastern woolly lemurs (Avahi laniger) like the one seen here are nocturnal, pair-living, folivorous (leaf-eating) primates only found in Madagascar. Madagascars’ 112 and counting lemur species are currently the most threatened mammal group…

Field Frame Friday: Feathered bandit stare-down.

Ever have a coastal picnic and have a uninvited guest sneak onto your picnic blanket and make off with your sandwich? Research shows that to protect your food, try staring down the gull that is eyeing that delicious feast you brought to the beach. When stared at, gulls took on average 21 seconds longer to…

Field Frame Friday: I wanna eat where the fishies are (but I can’t).

Unlike other marine birds such as cormorants and pelicans, western gulls (Larus occidentalis) don’t have the ability to dive. They considered foraging generalists and have 3 primary foraging methods: picking up prey from the ground or intertidal zone, surface dipping (pictured here), and jump plunging (where gulls will jump off a rock head first to…

Field Frame Friday: Meet George the gentle giant and his magic poop

The introduction of a ‘replacement’ species to areas that have suffered ecosystem damages due to the extinction of a similar species can greatly improve ecosystem health and species diversity. For instance, introduction of Aldabra giant tortoises (Aldabrachelys gigantea) to an area that had recently lost all large frugivores (animals that eat mostly fruit) that were…

Field Frame Friday: Hummingbirds are so. fly.

Hummingbirds (Trochilidae) rely less on thrusting themselves into the air using their legs than other birds during take-off. Instead they compensate by using their wings earlier on in the take-off process. This phenomena was observed most when hummingbirds took off to either escape something startling or to initiate aggression with another habitat (rather than simply…

Field Frame Friday: Food poisoning continues to curse California condors.

Did you know that this scavenger gets food poisoning, but maybe not in the “rotten meat” way you think. In the 1980s, California condors (Gymnogyps californianus) were considered extinct in the wild due to many factors, but largely from unintentional lead poisoning from bullet fragments left in terrestrial animal carcasses. Due to captive breeding there…