It has been a long time (too long) since I've written a post here. Much too long! My excuse is that I've been busy out "in the field" collecting data for my PhD research. No... not in the field like that...
Being "in the field" just means being out collecting data wherever that data may be. So, fieldwork can take a paleontologist to the Badlands of the Dakotas in search of bones, an archaeologist to the jungles of the Yucatán, or an bat biologist inside caves and caverns. My field work as taken me up and down the Pioneer Valley as I do ecological surveys of approx. 50 forested sites from the Connecticut boarder to the Vermont border. You can read more about what I am researching and why on in a write up on the research page (see, I haven't been completely silent on the website this summer). I hope to have more blog posts up here soon, but in the mean time here is a bunch of photos giving you a glimpse of what I've been doing in the woods all summer long.
Once I got to a site for the first time, I would flag it for return visits.
Then, I would go out to each of my sites (usually several in a morning) with a backpack full of stuff to do science!
We also did salamander surveys along a linear transect (left). We were after red-backed salamanders (center), but I found one four-toed salamander (right)!
I also took chunks of soil and leaf litter to extract the wee little invertebrates back in the lab. They will identified later.
Spending that much time in the woods, especially far from trails, allows you to see a lot of cool places and things. Here are a few!
All in all, a great time doing research. When I mention how early I have to wake up to go do point counts people always apologize, "how terrible!" they say. But, no, I say, "how sad it is you are still in bed when there is so much beauty out there to enjoy"!
I hope you liked the photo journey through some of my summer research. We are still out there doing veg work (counting trees etc), and will be heading back out in the fall to do more salamander transects. Don't forget to follow me on twitter @bpdilla for more about me and my research.