Seven steps toward preparing for Field Season 2007

December 26, 2006

Carmen Wong in the latest issue of the Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America has a nice article (pdf) on preparing for your first field season.  The advice is good for us veterans as well.  The big take home, start planning now–a lot of these things take time.

  1.  Apply early for your research permits
  2. Make contacts with the relevant organizations
  3. Understand your sampling scheme
  4. Be safe
  5. Treat your field assistants well
  6. Treat yourself well and remember your loved ones
  7. Prepare for the worst

The road best left untaken

December 18, 2006

In field biology your research takes you down some paths that better promise some pretty good data for all the rubber and undercarriage they strip from your truck (and all the lining they erode from your GI tract). There are some one-lane oilstrips in the Nebraska Sandhills, arroyo-roads in southeastern Arizona, and the the trans-isthmus highway in Panama that fall into that category for me.

But jeez louise, Dark Roasted Blend takes us down some roads RussianHighway BolivianHighway that only TibetPath a herpetologist could love.

Way the heck up there

December 16, 2006

I am a ecologist who spends quite a bit of time groveling in the litter of tropical forests looking for arthropods. Its a rare occasion that I find myself in the tropical canopy, which is usually just a much appreciated source of shade, and, of course, the leaves that fall and feed the decomposer, or brown, food web.

So it was on a recent trip to Peru I had the pleasure of working with Steve Yanoviak and Robert Dudley on various projects that required climbing into canopy of the Amazon forest, about 30 m above where I usually sit. It was, as one would imagine, a helluva lot of fun. As folks rarely get the chance to get a bird’s eye view of the tropical forest, check out this panorama.

Steve Yanoviak and Robert Dudley at the ACT canopy walkway along the Rio Napo, Peru.
Dr’s Yanoviak and Dudley in the canopy of the Amazon forest.