Saturday, April 27, 2013

The 2013 Spring/Summer Field Season Approach-eth.....

....two weeks ago it was the "calm before the storm" and now we are in full-throttle "deployment" and "turnover" mode.

We're also getting to that crazy crunch time in the semester.  A constant string of grading and gearing up for finals.

This summer will be hectic, to say the least.

One camera trap project that has been ongoing for a year will terminate at the beginning of May.  And this will be replaced with a slew of new projects (all involving undergraduate researchers) that I will oversee and have to bounce around in-between all summer.

A second camera trap project will continue for another year.  One of my research students will take this one over for the summer (I usually do it, but it would be perfect for him).

I have one student who will continue wolf research that was started this last winter.

I also have two new herp-related projects starting....

1) A radio telemetry study involving Blanding's Turtles (Emydoidea blandingi) can see some photos below from the prep work for this project that started LAST spring.  I have three students involved in that project.

2) a study of riparian snake communities, which requires drift fences.  This week it was finally warm enough to really try and install the fences.  Luckily, I have a cadre of hard-working undergraduate students that I can trust to volunteer and help me with stuff like this.....

As a mentor to budding ecologists, nothing makes me happier than to see them all working one standing around....and no complaining or whining (which I have a zero-tolerance policy on.... ).  Furthermore, they looked to be enjoying themselves.

In a single afternoon we installed all of the fencing for one of three study sites.  Hopefully we get the other two sites done in the next week and we can start catching "stuff".  :)

I also was "mean" enough to force my Advanced Ecology students to measure out a small mammal trapping grid as part of a class exercise, just like last year.

Yet, this year we did our work in the middle of a down-pour......

We didn't actually set any Sherman Traps until the following week, when it was not raining and the critters wouldn't be so likely to die due to exposure.  We added a bit of alpaca wool to the traps to help them out (it was in the 30s the evening the traps went out.

Rodents were more than willing to take advantage of the peanut butter and oats we provided.  These are a Peromyscus sp., I always call them White-Footed Mice (P. leucopus), but they could just as easily be Deer Mice (P. maniculatus).

Then...of of the students locked their keys in the car.  Luckily some of the others knew how to solve this problem (because they had locked their own keys in their cars at one point :)  ).

More to come when I get a chance to breathe!


  1. Such interesting work! I can't imagine that you ever have students that don't get excited about what they are doing here. Great pics, and had to laugh at the parting shot:))


  2. Thanks, Bill!

    They are a good group of students. They tend to get disappointed when we don't catch things after putting in all the work to dig those fences in....but that's reality, I guess!