Field Frame Friday: “Retro” Research Methods

In the age of technology, animal behavior scientists are able to use high-definition videos, behavioral coding software, and strings of code to help with their research. Sometimes however, there is nothing quite like hanging out with your research journal and your very own eyeballs observing and recording what animals are doing. This can often be…

Field Frame Friday: Bike safety meets surf safety?

What are those dark purple lumps on the rocks below? The sea urchins, Colobocentrotus atratus, have earned several nicknames for their distinctive body shape, including “helmet urchin” and “shingle urchin.” Unlike other urchins covered in long, sharp spines, C. atratus have a smooth body and flattened spines. Their unique body plan helps them withstand pounding…

Field Frame Friday: Daffodils or Disease-odils?

Bees of all kinds love flowers; however, flower nectar and pollen can also serve as vectors for various pathogens (disease causing agents) that can spread between bees of different colonies using the same flowers. In fact, honey bees can even pick up and spread bumble bee diseases to different flowers and vice versa. What’s more,…

Field Frame Friday: Watch where you step!

White-crowned sparrows (Zonotrichia leucophrys) nest in small willows or pines, often right on the ground. The nests are really hard to find but are so important to my research! Most nests have 4 tiny speckled eggs. When we find them, we track them as the eggs hatch and the nestlings grow up. [Photo and caption…

Field Frame Friday [Halloween edition]: Attack of the Clones!

Light bulb tunicates (Clavelina huntsmani), named for their bands of pink internal organs that resemble light bulb filaments, are a social species of tunicate (or more adorably known as “sea squirts”) that reproduce asexually so what you see here are red algae surrounding a little cluster or sea squirt clones! Spoooooky! [Photo and caption by…

Field Frame Friday: Looked cute, might delete later.

While titi monkeys (Callicebinae spp.) are generally neophobic (i.e. afraid of new things), they do show wide variability in personality. This more adventurous coppery titi monkey (Plecturocebus cupreus) wanted to get a closer look at the camera lens! Pictured in the back is his six-month-old son. [Photo by Alexander Baxter, Caption by Allison Lau] Savidge,…

Field Frame Friday: Summer Fieldwork Forecast?

I study how bird songs influence mating strategies in white-crowned sparrows (Zonotrichia leucophrys) and am interested in how traffic noise impedes the ability to assess bird songs and subsequently affects their reproductive success. During this summer’s fieldwork at Tioga Pass in Yosemite, we woke up to something very unexpected…a snowstorm had hit overnight- in JUNE!…

Field Frame Friday: Now you see them, now you don’t!

What happens when a pandemic strikes and travelers are no longer hiking or visiting natural areas? Research, of course! Since there are no visitors allowed in protected areas in Panama, I’m taking advantage of this opportunity to assess whether local forest mammals will avoid the trails less with fewer human visitors. I deployed cameras traps…

Field Frame Friday: Trot, trot, tölt!

Icelandic horses (Equus ferus caballus) are the only horse breed in the world that can perform five different gaits. Most horses can walk, trot, and canter, but Icelandic horses can also perform a flying pace and a tölt – these gaits, in which only one hoof touches the ground at a time, are useful given…

Field Frame Friday: Migrating mule deer!

Mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) are migratory ungulates and often their migratory routes intersect with human developments and urban areas. Development and urbanization have greatly impacted the migration routes of many migratory ungulates and have ultimately lead to the population decline of many of these animals. Mule deer do not adjust their migration routes to avoid…