Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Lizard Project Days 8 and 9: A field day in the life of an evolutionary biologist.

As a biology teacher it seems to me that many kids who would make really great biologists (Maybe you are one of those kids!), don’t become biologists because they don’t  know any biologists personally and can’t picture exactly what it is they would do as a biologist.  Here at WideWorldScience we love what we do and we want to share it with you.  While it is true that there is a lot of time spent back at the lab, analyzing data, teaching classes, planning experiments and preparing for field expeditions, all of us love to get out and do science in the wild.  We really do love working with our friends outside, paddling kayaks, looking for wildlife, climbing trees and chasing lizards. We live for these field trips!  Here is a typical field day in the life of a biologist:

Dan and Andrew with our rental truck and kayak trailer.
6:30 Wake up- Four of us are packed into the tiny bunkhouse room at the Guano Tolomato Matanzas Estuarine Research Reserve.  It is small, but it has air conditioning, running water, electricity and an internet connection, so we are glad to have it.  Many times we camp in tents while we are working in the field.

6:45 Breakfast- cereal, milk and bananas

.7:15 Packing the gear- We pack up all of our gear into the truck for the day.  This includes, lizard nooses, lizard bags, drinking water, dry shoes, sunscreen, cameras, animal coolers, lizard noose repair kit, duct tape (you always need duct tape), life jackets, kayaks, paddles and of course lunch (usually pb&j sandwiches, apples and granola bars).

8:00 Drive 3 miles to the boat launch- This is where we put the kayaks in the water.  There are lots of fisherman that put their boats in the estuary here.  It is a busy place.
The commute to the office.

8:30 Paddle out to the islands- This is one of my favorite parts of the day.  It takes about 10 minutes to paddle to Island M, our closest island, and about 45 minutes to paddle to Island F, the furthest island.  We often have dolphins swim near us while we paddle.

9:00 We land on an island.  This requires us to wade through the shallow water.  Since Tim cut his foot on an oyster shell two days ago, we have to help him keep his feet dry. See this video.

This lizard has already been captured by us.

9:15- 12:15 We hunt for lizards on the island.  We just walk around carefully looking for lizards in the trees.  When we find one we then try to noose it.  We put numbers on those that we have already caught so we don’t catch them again accidentally.

12:15- 12:45 We take a break to eat our lunch.

1:00- 4:00 We move to a second island and catch lizards there.
Looking for lizards in all the wrong places.

4:15 We paddle the kayaks back to the boat launch and load them back up on the trailer to drive back to the field station.

5:00 Cold Showers-  Sometimes we even stop for ice cream on the way home.

5:00 to 6:30 Blogging, Tweeting, Cooking Dinner and updates data notebooks

Processing lizards.
Science is fun, but it is hard work. Rest up there are still more lizards out there!
6:30-10:00 Processing Lizards.  This is what we call it when we measure, weigh, mark and take tissue samples from the lizards.

10:30 Sleep time!  We are really tired by this point in the day!

1 comment:

  1. Hello,

    Your style of presentation is very nice. The meaningful contribution of your mind reflects on those people who are looking for good and new ideas. I would like to tweet on it and keep spying at every moment you blogging.
    Glutathione Peroxidase Assay Kit

    Thanks a lot again.
    Mark Holland