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 Notes: It takes a village

After last year’s field season was canceled because of the pandemic followed by a full year of virtual meetings, conferences, socializing, and the never-ending pinging of emails in my inbox, sitting at my laptop was about the very last place I wanted to be at the start of summer. Contrarily, being in the fog of the Marin Headlands,…

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…

Sunday Sketch: Caribbean Reef Squid

The Caribbean reef squid’s (Sepioteuthis sepioidea) tentacles and head are made up almost entirely of muscle. They use these muscles to move fast, escape predators, and capture prey. On top of their already impressive athleticism, Caribbean reef squids also have some of the largest eyes relative to their body size of any animal in the…

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…

Sunday Sketch: Anise Swallowtail

Anise swallowtails’ (Papilio zelicaon) yellow-and-black wings stand out in their natural habitat and make them conspicuous to both people and predators. While many people think anise swallowtails are gorgeous, these high contrast wings send a message to predators: “Don’t eat me, I’m poisonous!” Sketch contributed by Hee Jin Chung. Fact contributed by Allison Lau. [Edited by…

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…