Category Archives: Outreach Publication

Sonoma County Wildlife website update

Since the summer launch of sonomawildlife.org, the website I co-created, we’ve been busy writing about crickets, stars, beavers, porcupines, watershed clean-ups, and newts, with more posts on the way! It has been really great to create a central place for Sonoma County wildlife issues and education.

What’s next for the site? We are currently on the look-out for people interested in contributing and are working on some social media efforts to further our outreach capabilities. We hope to widen the community involvement in the coming year! If you want to get involved, please contact us – see the About page on the site.

Sonoma County Wildlife website launch!

scw

 

I am really excited about the launch of a new website that I co-created!

The idea of the website was to create a central place for the Sonoma County community to share knowledge about our wildlife neighbors. We hope to connect county residents to the landscape around them, educate about the wildlife that coexists with them, offer opportunities to get involved in wildlife projects, and inform about local wildlife conservation issues.

I will be writing and editing for the site and hope that it will be a useful tool for the people of Sonoma County. Please go and check it out at sonomawildlife.org!

Sleep deprivation, hawksbills that like variety, and green sea turtles hanging out together

Three new publications out!

First, Guru Magazine has published my article, “Light Sleepers: Why you need to get your sleep, and your light,” about something on my mind a lot during the first year with my new daughter: sleep deprivation. I go over why it’s so important to get those Zzzs (unless of course you LIKE hallucinating and walking into walls, in which case, don’t bother with this article).

The next two were articles published in scientific journals.  “Habitat selection by green turtles in a spatially heterogeneous benthic landscape in Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida” was published in Aquatic Biology. This one is interesting because it mixes two telemetry methods: satellite tracking and acoustic receivers. With these methods, we look at what areas turtles prefer and get clues as to whether turtles spent time with (or avoided) each other. Acoustic data in particular can be tricky to work with, and this paper offers up some ways of working with it.

Hawksbill satellite-tracking case study: implications for remigration interval and population estimates” was published in Marine Turtle Newsletter. I am extra excited about this one because I was first author. In this paper, we talk about Shuli, a hawksbill turtle tagged in the US Virgin Islands . After nesting there, she migrated all the way to the Bahamas before returning to nest again. What was interesting about Shuli was that she nested on a different beach upon her return. In the paper, we talk about how this has implications on counting turtles to get population sizes and also on our understanding of how often individuals nest.

Read one, read all. Learn a little about yourself, learn a little about the natural world.

The most interesting turtle in the world

IMG_1933

I have a special place in my heart for terrapins. There’s just something about their cute small faces and their sweet demeanor – it’s like they have yet to learn that humans are to be feared. True, once in a while they may try to bite a wayward finger if you aren’t paying attention. But you can’t really hold that against them – if you were temporarily snatched from home to be measured and tagged, you might think about doing the same.
 

Besides the occasional attempted bite, when we caught them they usually sought escape by ‘swimming’ through our hands with their cool webbed feet, their sharp nails digging into our skin with tenacity. And once in a great while, with the small prick of a needle in the behind, some males would have the opposite reaction: they would let out their flower-shaped penises from the safe hiding space in their tails to search for what they presumably thought must be some kind of mating attempt.

Terrapins are interesting in an ecological context, being the only turtle species in North America that lives exclusively in mangroves or coastal marshes. They are also interesting in a conservation context: they interact with crab fisheries along their range (they get too comfy in submerged crab traps and can’t find a way out, so they sadly drown) and also live on the coast, which means a lot of competition with us humans for that space – habitat loss or degradation is a principal concern for them.

 

One other interesting thing to me about terrapins is where I had to go to find them. I traveled deep into mangroves in Everglades National Park, where the edge of the Gulf of Mexico and the tip of the U.S. meet, so distant from major human influence that the lights of Miami were just a haze on the horizon amidst a Milky Way-filled sky. It was a place where the sea still shined with bioluminescence when our little skiff floated over its surface. A place where time took on a truly abstract meaning and our days were ruled by the height of the sun and the pull of the moon on the tides.

 

I went there, and I caught terrapins along with researchers who had been studying them for years. I wrote about the thrill of catching these small turtles, and about how terrapin blood holds one key to their conservation. Please read the article, published by Guru Magazine here: Hunting Terrapins.

Science behind beaver fur boycott?

American_Beaver,_tree_cuttingAn American Beaver working hard to fell a tree

This question was posed to me recently by a Guru magazine reader as part of Ask-a-Guru.

It was originally stated like this: “Is there a scientific reason for boycotting ALL beaver skin products?”

The question was interesting to me because it’s not asking for an opinion – it’s not asking whether I not I think it’s “right” or “good” to use beaver fur. It simply asked whether there was a scientific basis for boycotting it all.

I therefore endeavored  to answer this question with no bias, and only facts. I know using fur products can be an emotionally charged topic for some! So, what did I find out? Check out my  answer on Guru’s website, here.

Also, you can check out Guru’s twitter feed to see the original question.

Photo from wikimedia commons.