Ed. Note: Elizabeth Scordato is an evolutionary biologist at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, studying how environmental variation influences the evolution of bird signaling and the formation of new species. From April to June of this year, Liz is conducting field research on the Pacific swallow in Malaysia, Fiji, and Japan, and will be making […]
How to catch a Pacific swallow–dispatches from the front lines of biological research.
On the fourth day of my field season, I found myself on a tiny boat with three students from the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, setting off down a remote jungle river in search of birds. The putt-putt of the outboard motor mingled with the sounds of bird songs, monkey calls, and the rustling of palm leaves […]
What do scientists take into the field? A visual breakdown.
Right now, I am conducting fieldwork in Malaysia on the Pacific swallow. For the next two months, I will travel to several countries in southeast Asia and the Pacific and keep you updated on my progress. Here’s what’s I’m bringing with me to ensure a successful field season: Mist Nets: Mist nets are the number […]
Fieldwork is an important part of biological research. Here’s how I prepare.
One of the most exciting parts of being a field biologist is starting a new season. In fact, we talk about “field seasons” with a special sort of reverence. After all, it’s when we leave our fluorescently-lit labs and go out into the real world–forests, deserts, oceans, wherever–and study organisms in their natural environments. Why […]