Field Notes: Eat, [don’t] sleep, watch calves, repeat

Research teaches you way more than you’d expect: Which trendy caffeinated drinks do and don’t work to keep you awake (stick to coffee.) What exercise you can do during observations to stay active without distracting your subjects (squats.) Which podcasts are best for keeping you alert without making you panic when you’re outside alone in…

Field Notes: Kiddie pools in Mongolia

This summer I was part of an international-interdisciplinary team studying a social-ecological system in the Selenge River Valley of northern Mongolia. I know: that’s two hyphens too many, but hang in there, there were also the largest salmon in the world, sheep as far as the eye could see, and crispy yogurt chips.  There were…

Field Notes: Chickens wear backpacks!

Whenever I tell people that I research chicken behavior and welfare, I usually receive two types of responses: 1) Raised eyebrows coupled with a disinterested “Huh… As long as it makes you happy, I guess” or 2) “So what kind of eggs should I be buying?” I prefer the latter, but I have to be…

Field Notes: The secret lives of basking sharks

Basking sharks will break you. That’s an unfortunate lesson that’s been learned the hard way for centuries, among fishermen and researchers alike. It’s probably not for the reasons you imagine, because these are not your average sharks (although it is my duty as a shark biologist and conservationist to inform that you have more of…

Field Notes: Busy Bees and a Busier Grad Student

For the last 10 months or so, not a single day has gone by where I haven’t spent some amount of time thinking about honey bees, reading about honey bees, working with honey bees, or listing off cool honey bee facts to anyone willing to listen.  If you’ve been following the blog in recent months, […]

Field Notes: The sensory world of sea otters

Sarah McKay Strobel, a PhD researcher at University of California Santa Cruz, highlights the world according to sea otters and how it’s not just about knowing your study species, but knowing the individual animals as well.

Field Notes: Trinidadian guppies

For the last five years, I have studied the effects of human-induced land change on species interactions and behavior in freshwater streams in the Northern Range Mountains of Trinidad. As I put the finishing touches on my dissertation, this my first summer in four years when I’m not in the Northern Range Mountains of Trinidad…