Field Frame Friday: To know the seal, one must BE the seal!

When data collection is cancelled because of the pandemic, one must get creative to stay connected to their study species. For me, this means free-diving in Monterey Bay. Harbor seals (Phoca vitulina) are often found in the kelp forests, using different strategies for foraging and hunting. One strategy is called the sit-and-wait, where seals can…

Field Frame Friday: Moose? Mooses? Meese?

Moose (Alces americanus) will dive in lakes for aquatic plant species despite the fact that there is ample, accessible, nutritious, woody vegetation on land and swimming and diving is a more costly form of locomotion. This behavior used by moose to supplement terrestrial vegetation was a mystery until scientists discovered that aquatic plants are much…

Field Frame Friday: She sells snail shells down by the sea shore

Certain characteristics of land snails correlate with environmental conditions, for instance larger snails are found in more moist habitats. Pheromones of conspecifics can also influence growth rate at large population densities such that smaller snails are found when population density is high. Snail shell height is influenced by the angle of the habitat where the…

Field Frame Friday: A handsome collar fit for a cow

This cow (Bos taurus) is modeling a custom-made GPS collar that will be used to collect data on grazing behavior. Collars have to be sturdy and robust, so that these mischievous girls will not shake them off or rub them off while they are grazing extensive rangelands. The GPS devices in these collars store the…

Field Frame Friday: Sing it loud and proud!

Indri (Indri Indri) songs can be heard from kilometers away and serve to defend a pair’s territory, advertise the position of the group within the territory, and maintain contact between group members even when far apart.  [Photo, recording, and caption by Meredith Lutz] Torti, V., Gamba, M., Rabemananjara, Z. H., & Giacoma, C. (2013). The…

Field Frame Friday: Pandas aren’t the only bamboo eaters around here!

Bamboo lemurs, like the northern bamboo lemur pictured here (Hapalemur occidentalis), are most well known for their specialist diet on bamboo. Some groups of the genus, however, are known to eat other grasses. [Photo and caption by Meredith Lutz] Eppley, T. M., Verjans, E., & Donati, G. (2011). Coping with low-quality diets: a first account…

Field Frame Friday: Eavesdropping to survive

Although they aren’t particularly vocal themselves, Malagasy spiny-tailed iguanas (Oplurus cuvieri) have learned to distinguish the predator alarm calls of their forest coinhabitants – including from those animals’ normal vocalisations. This “eavesdropping” allows the iguanas to get away before they become a tasty snack to local birds of prey. [Photo and caption by Meredith Lutz]…

Field Frame Friday: That’s not your kettle. It’s a Pigeon Guillemot!

During the breeding season, Pigeon Guillemots (Cepphus columba) can often be heard making high-pitched vocalizations to one another. Whistles may be used by males to attract a mate, while trills are utilized between pairs. This particular bird, located on Southeast Farallon Island, had just finished trilling over a long distance to their mate. [Photo and…

Field Frame Friday: Lemur sleep holes

Although sportive lemurs, like the red-tailed sportive lemur (Lepilemur ruficaudatus) seen here are nocturnal, they can sometimes be spotted in their sleep holes during the day (Rakotomalala et al., 2017). Reference: Rakotomalala, E. J., Rakotodraparany, F., Perofsky, A. C., & Lewis, R. J. (2017). Characterization of the tree holes used by Lepilemur ruficaudatus in the dry,…

Field Frame Friday: Crowded Colony Life

Common Murres (Uria aalge) live in some close quarters! These tightly packed colonies, called “loomeries,” allow for Common Murres to practice allopreening (grooming one another). In addition to reducing parasite loads, allopreening may also play an important social role. Mates groom mates and neighbors groom neighbors! [Photo and caption by Lindsey Broadus] Lewis, S. Roberts,…