Confessions of a lab biologist

We are excited to welcome Leslie Holmes to the blog today. Leslie is a PhD Candidate at Queen’s University, and while she may only be a novice field biologist…she “gets it”. For more about Leslie, see the end of this post.  While I’m no field biologist, I have had short expeditions in field biology. As a novice ‘field biologist’ I can honestly say “I get it”, that is, I get the appeal. Who wouldn’t want…

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Oversized survival suit

At the end of this summer, one of my supervisors said he was coming to town and Double-crested cormorants on perches on an island. asked if I wanted to help him collect cormorant eggs on small islands in Lake Ontario. Since the double-crested cormorant is a species that I spend a lot of time studying in the lab, I jumped at the chance to get out in the field again. Despite it being August, the…

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Not a Foreign Field

This week we are thrilled to welcome Pratik Gupte to the blog. Pratik is a research assistant at the Centre for Ecological Sciences of the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. For more about Pratik, see the end of this post.  Last autumn, I was on the River Ijssel in the Netherlands looking for something – or someone – pretty specific. White-fronted goose No. 34 was somewhere close by and I was in the process of…

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How I faced my fears and made a new friend (or a thousand new friends) in the field

I know I have said this before, but I’ve never been fond of spiders. As a Biologist, I can appreciate the way they move, the piercing colours and patterns of their delicate little bodies and their interesting behaviours. These wonderful characteristics are all beautiful and incredibly fascinating, until they’re getting close to me and suddenly that beauty is out the window…literally. Some of you may recall a close encounter I had with a rather large…

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Two Weeks Out at Sea

We are excited to welcome Ashley Arnold to Dispatches from the Field today! Ashley is a graduate student studying microbial ecology at the University of British Columbia. Today she tells us about two very interesting weeks out at sea. For more about Ashley, see the end of this post.  Wait, you’re going where?! Will you have internet connection? I don’t get it…why are you going again? Do you get seasick? These are just a few…

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A Resupply Gone Wrong…Horribly Wrong.

We are excited to welcome Lisa Buckley to the blog today. Lisa is a palaeontologist based in British Columbia, Canada, and today she tells us an unfortunate but equally amazing fieldwork story! Welcome, Lisa!   “I wonder how that would taste?” I can’t think of one field expedition lacking a humorous story about food-borne desperation. You have to laugh, or it just seems horrid. A quote often attributed to Napoleon Bonaparte is “an army marches on…

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How many words is a fieldwork picture worth?

One of the current hot topics regarding human social trends is the use of social media platforms to document our lives, especially in terms of photos. Why not just live in the moment? You can take experiences with you, but you can’t take photos! These are just a couple of the common mindsets out there. I’m not particularly sure where I fall on this spectrum. I love taking photos, and I do upload quite a…

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Yes, those boring safety training sessions are important

Dispatches from the field is happy to welcome Katie Grogan, a postdoctoral fellow to share a post this week about a scary field safety lesson! Check out the end of the post for more about Katie. The second scariest moment of field work I ever experienced happened basically on campus, exactly one mile from our lab and office. Caught in the mist net. Photo by JRM. Some people may argue that catching sparrows in downtown…

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What science literacy means to us

Science rules! And reading rocks! September 18 – 24th 2017 marks the second annual Science Literacy Week in Canada. But what is science literacy? The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) defines scientific literacy as “the ability to engage with science-related issues, and with the ideas of science, as a reflective citizen.” To us here at Dispatches from the Field, promoting scientific literacy means being able to effectively communicate and share the excitement of science…

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Squirrel Chatter

This week on Dispatches from the Field, we welcome Sarah Westrick, a Ph. D. student at University of Michigan who shares her experiences at Squirrel Camp! For more about Sarah, check out her bio at the end of the post.  As a biologist, I’m enamored with nature. Learning more about the natural world around us is what drew me to the field, and biological fieldwork provides some amazing opportunities for me to connect with the…

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