3-2-19: Last day rush to collect, catalogue, and search
4:19pm - we just finished our day, and as we sit here in the "hammock" area, we are exhausted, reflective, and while ready to go home, feel we have gained so much. As Jacob said, the days are long, but the week has gone by so fast...
So first, we must thank our hosts here, starting with Dr. Lee Dyer - his research continues to ask questions that need answering, and we are thankful for that!
Next, Dani, Dr. Dyer's graduate student who has been our leader, our teacher, and our mom - thanks Dani!
Trevor, who has been a beast, going out all the difficult trails with us (often twice a day) searching for Piper...
Heather, whose presence and knowledge were vital for our being able to be helpful and successful with the project. Plus, her herbivorie project is pretty cool...
Jen, who was the UNR photographer with us - she was awesome!
And then Beto, who we didn't see much, but can spot frass on the ground faster than any person alive!
This morning two groups took 2 long trails, and one group stayed behind to continue to process. I was with Jacob and Ben processing, the other two groups continued to check unexplored areas of the park for Piper. After doing zoo, Jacob, Ben and I managed to catalogue THE REST OF THE LEAVES. I asked Dani if she felt the sample size was good, and she said yes, we sampled something like 150 trees, so pictures of all the leaves (10 for chem analysis,10 for herbivorie analysis, from each tree), then genomic samples, the caterpillars, the soil samples...she said good job!
While the two groups did not find any Piper in the areas of interest, it was okay - they helped finish up the zooing, and then photographed each caterpillar, and then data entry the leaves (we labeled them by trail, marker number, etc.) to make the record, and into excel it went. BUT - they did find a super cool saddleback caterpillar on the trail...(courtesy of Mr. Rudnick).
After dinner, Dani gave a talk to us about her research, and the we had the night left to pack before leaving tomorrow morning. As I think about this past week with the students, I realize I got to know each of them in a way I never could have at school: spending 8 days, 24 hours a day with each other will do that! Everyone kept saying it to me, but man, I really lucked out with these 8 students: so well-behaved, so INTO the science, and so helpful to the scientists.
As I think back to some of my favorite memories of this trip, the first that comes to mind was when I first realized how good this group was: in line at customs. Here are some pictures of how they passed the time (the hallway we were waiting in line in had all these murals...)
Their humor, their patience, their generosity with each other, and their curiosity and intellect made an impression on me, and everyone from UNR: I couldn't be prouder of these 8!
I leave you with several frog pictures - I laughed pretty hard (and maybe a little loudly at the Comodore) at several of them...