Is that a worm??! (9 July)

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Adventures Afield
Fieldnotes
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My new hero is our field camp assistant, Pedro, a.k.a “Baba.”  Every day or two Baba brings me a couple of animals: a miniature forest rat, a bird, a giant water bug, a sail fin lizard, snake eggs from inside a log; whatever he finds.  Invariably he proudly presents the new catch on the end of some plastic string and we communicate in grunts and gestures because he speaks only Bisaya and a local indigenous language and I speak only English and Tagalog.  Baba is very adept at setting snares that put our fancy field gear to shame.

A hundred years ago, there were no roads to Bunawan (1 July)

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Adventures Afield
Fieldnotes
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Half way through our expeditionary celebration of a century of KU Herpetology in the Philippines, I left the team on the beach near Gingoog City, in Misamis Oriental Province, Northern Mindanao.  After Mt. Hilong-hilong, some much needed R&R—plus a chance to clean and dry moldy clothes and tents—was just what the doctor ordered.  As I travelled back to the states for a brief hiatus, I again reflected again on how different my experience is compared to that of KU Professor E. H. Taylor, Father of Philippine herpetology.

Perú and the Amazon Educator Workshop

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Lab Notes

Our Perú 2011 expedition and field course was very rewarding, with the research and creative products, and the lovely exhibition in the KU Spencer Art Museum, http://www.spencerart.ku.edu/exhibitions/39-trails.shtml. We are still experiencing wonderful outcomes one year later. Today, some of us participated in a panel discussion as part of an outreach program with 32 high school and community college teachers from around the U.S.A. The ‘Peru and Amazon Educator Workshop’ was organized by KU’s Center of Latin American Studies and the Spencer Art Museum.

The oldest Batesian trick in the book

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Fieldwork How To
Fieldnotes
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I’m proud to say, a few days ago at Camp Putik, I fell for the oldest trick I the book.  Million of years of evolution and selection pressures exerted by predators have produced many flavors of harmless animals which avoid predation by “mimicking” noxious, toxic, foul-tasting, or venomous co-distributed species.

Hubble-hubbling in the Philippine boondocks

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By Train, Plane, and Camel
Fieldnotes
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Transportation in the rural Philippine countryside can be a challenge.  Getting away from the city centers, through the agricultural areas of the lowlands, and up to the foot of a mountain requires multiple stages of transportation from bus, to jeepney, to four-wheel drive truck, and eventually to local village Hubble-hubble motorbikes.

Stepping into Insect Science

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Staff & Student Blogs
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Children preparing for a hot field day: sunscreen and repellent
Caroline Chaboo, Riley Wertenberger (KU undergraduate), and Josh Cunningham (Haskell U.

Good Company

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Adventures Afield
Fieldnotes
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As the centennial KU Philippine expedition continues, we are all continually impressed by the abilities, incredible hospitality, and hard work ethic of our collaborators and local field counterparts.
 

 

 

Tadpole Conundrum, the Philippines

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Fieldwork How To
Fieldnotes
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tadpole research

It’s always interesting to see how people adjust to life in camp when first arriving in the field.  I am particularly intrigued by what appeals to new students—what interests them, which animals they like, what questions develop.  It’s a finer point, but these initial impressions can have a profound impact on someone’s life.  It is that passion for the organism that not only has the potential to inspire someone to take up a career in biology, but which may also sustain them for five or six years of graduate school or whatever higher training they may u

"Setting Sail" 100 Years Later for Herpetology Research

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By Train, Plane, and Camel
Fieldnotes

As I pack for our trip (tomorrow) to the Philippines, something very interesting occurred to me: right now is the one century anniversary of KU herpetological expeditions to the Philippines.  KU professor Dr. Edward Taylor first arrived in Manila in April-May 1912, exactly 100 years ago.  It's very interesting to reflect on how much has changed over the past 100 years…personally, my experience is obviously quite different from Ed's.  He spent months on a schooner, on his way to Manila (through Singapore), and my trip will take 30 hrs (through Japan).

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