I am surprising myself by starting a blog for my fieldwork- something many have encouraged me to do in the past. Welcome! Being in the field and doing ecological work is always very different from living in the city. There are countless wonderful, strange, and interesting situations field ecologists face and which they don't end up sharing with anyone apart from immediate family and friends. I have a great field team this year, and we're excited to share our experiences and ideas from this extended field season (June 2015 - January 2016) with you.
Here's the whole field team, 9 of us (plus hummingbirds)! All the photos here are mine, unless otherwise mentioned. Please give appropriate photo credit if you use any photos from here!
Anusha Shankar This is the longest and most intensive field season I've had - 7 months in the field, with 9 field assistants rotating through the project. My time preparing for this season, and my time here so far, has given me a lot of space to think about my dissertation intensively, immerse myself in my study system completely, and head a brand new field team in a different country - with all the logistics, PR skills, trouble-shooting, equipment management, and language problems that come with it. I am excited to essentially be running a mini-lab in the field. My project encompasses behavior, resource availability, resource use, and field energetics of hummingbirds at this high elevation site in the Andes. The data are going to be great!
Pedro Jose Machado Tapia (Hormiga) Hormiga loves being in the field, and finished his Bachelor's degree with the University of Azuay in 2012. For his thesis he studied birds in Cajas National Park, looking at the effect of human disturbance gradients on birds. He has worked with the Ministry of Environment, is good at building things, keeps the field station spic and span, and loves cheese, meat and beer.
Julisa Ricart I am a current undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin - Madison pursuing a degree in Conservation Biology and Environmental Studies. This is my first time working as a field assistant, and I am so excited about everything I am learning! I am especially interested in the physiological aspects of the project, and I will be working on an independent project using respirometry equipment to study energy use in hummingbirds. After I return to the United States in January, I will complete my final semester of undergraduate work at UW-Madison and take a year off from formal education to gain more field experience and discover what aspect of the biological sciences I would like to focus on. I then plan to resume studying at the graduate level.
Josh van Bourg Josh recently graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Integrative Biology from UC Berkeley. He has field experience from all over the world! We just bought an acoustic guitar named Tuxedo penguino, which we are all learning to play, lead by Josh. In his spare time here, he plans to set up a mammal camera trap and catch lizards.
Anita Morales I graduated last year from McGill University in Montreal, Canada, with a degree in Environmental biology. After living in Canada for the last 9 years, I have decided to return to Ecuador, hoping to contribute to the scientific knowledge of my country. After graduating I decided to take some time off from studies to gain more field experience and find out what aspects of ornithology I would like to focus on. I was an intern at a bird Banding Station in Montreal, where I learned to band, age and sex migratory North American birds. I then moved back to Ecuador and was an assistant for the Landbird Conservation Program in the Galapagos Islands. I also got the chance to work with Galapagos hawks in an inhabited island! I love birds and I love birdwatching. I also love photography (birds) and traveling (where there are birds). I want to pursue a masters or a PhD in the future, focusing on bird ecology, habitat use and bird migration, and hopefully I can apply this to conservation.
Gabriela Córdova English: I am a student of Biology, Ecology and Evolution in the University of Azuay, Cuenca, Ecuador. My passion is birds, which I gained by participating in fieldwork and courses in Ornithology. At this time, I am part of a group that works on studying hummingbirds in the Ecuadorian Andes, and I wish to continue on this line of investigation. I also love photography, and want to learn more. When I finish my Bachelor's degree at the university, I would like to prepare to study abroad. Español: Soy estudiante de la carrera de Biología, Ecología, y Gestión, en la Universidad del Azuay (Cuenca, Ecuador). Me apasionan las aves, por lo que he participando en prácticas y cursos sobre Ornitología. En estos momentos formo parte de un grupo de trabajo en el que estamos estudiando la fisiología de colibríes en los Andes Ecuatorianos y me encantaria seguir con esta linea de investigación. También me encanta la fotografía, y quisiera aprender mucho más. Estoy por terminar mis estudios universitarios y me gustaría seguir preparándome e ir a estudiar a otro país.
Gabriela Urgíles English: I am a student of Biology, Ecology and Management at the University of Azuay in Ecuador. I have a passion for birds and want to study their ecology. Thanks to several teachers I have had several opportunities to carry out field work with birds, and have learnt to capture and handle them. This year I was part of the team with Anusha's doctoral dissertation on physiology in hummingbirds and became fascinated by this line of investigation. In the very near future I would like to continue working on research like this and travel outside my country to further study along these lines. Español: Soy estudiante de Biología, Ecología, y Gestión en la Universidad del Azuay en la Ecuador, tengo una gran pasión por las aves y quiero alcanzar a estudiar la ecología de ellas. Gracias a varios maestros he tenido varias oportunidades en el trabajo de campo de aves sobre su captura y la forma de manipularlas. En este año forme parte del equipo de apoyo en una tesis de Doctorado sobre Fisiología de Colibríes y me fascino esta línea para investigación. En un futuro muy cercano quisiera poder seguir trabajando sobre investigaciones como esta y viajar fuera de mi país para lograr estudiar más acerca de estas líneas.
Amanda Quezada English: I am a student of Biology, Ecology and Evolution at the University of Azuay in Ecuador, and I am very interested in studying bird ecology and biology, behavior, distribution and use of resources. I have had the opportunity to work a lot in the field, capturing and handling birds. I enjoy data analysis and participated in a workshop organized by the Ornithology group in my University. I am now a field assistant in the support team for a PhD dissertation on the physiology of hummingbirds. For my thesis I intend to study the relationship between fluctuating abundance and richness of birds and the availability of their food resources in time and space. Español: Soy estudiante de Biología, Ecología, y Gestión en la Universidad del Azuay en Ecuador, y estoy muy interesada en estudiar ecología y biología de aves, comportamiento, distribución y aprovechamiento de recursos. He tenido lo oportunidad de trabajar mucho en el campo con captura y manipulación de aves, me todos de conteo y análisis de datos, debido también a que estuve presente en un Taller de Ornitología organizado por la misma universidad; ademas de mi participación como equipo de apoyo en una tesis de Doctorado sobre Fisiología de Colibríes. Para mi tesis estoy pensado en trabajar con la relación o como fluctúa la abundancia y riqueza de aves en funcion a la disponibilidad de su recurso alimenticio en un tiempo y lugar determinado.
Erich Eberts I am from Westchester, New York (an hour north of The City) and I attended Fordham Prep in the Bronx. I currently live in Los Angeles, CA. I love to travel, hike and camp, rock climb, play soccer, do field research, and pretty much anything that is outdoors! I am a recent graduate of Loyola Marymount University, where I majored in biology, focusing in ecology. I am mainly interested in avian ecology, especially hummingbird ecology and physiology. My other research interests and projects include crow behavior and sociality in relation to an endangered shore bird species, and how climate change may affect invasive plant distributions. I plan to pursue a Ph.D in ecology and continue researching hummingbirds after I finish my travels in South America (which I began as a field assistant for Anusha!). Click here to visit Erich's awesome blog!