Friday, August 13, 2010

Back to the desk

While I've been doing lots of computer work since returning to the US about a week ago, today was the first day that I tried to spend the entire day in my office, sitting at my desk, staring at computer screens... One of the strangest and, I think, most difficult aspects of being a field biologist is that you have to lead this double life: part-time rugged adventurer, part-time intellectual desk jockey. The transitions (field to desk, desk to field) often feel like a moderate case of whiplash with a concussion on top of it. Your body and psyche are forced to move in a completely different direction, and you feel dazed and unsure of yourself. It takes a little time to dig in.

Needless to say, I felt a bit antsy in the office today, but I am excited about working with all of the data we collected. Movement ecology is heading in many interesting directions these days, and I hope to contribute.

-Elizabeth, Syracuse, NY

Sunday, August 1, 2010


A few images to give an idea of where the tortoises were going. The blue outline on the map of Pinta shows the extent of all the tortoise movements on Pinta during the time that we were there. That´s only 2 months and they´ve covered a huge area so far. The green area is where we conducted vegetation and cactus sampling. The red dot is the spot where all of the tortoises were introduced - about half of the tortoises stayed near that point (mostly within the green rectangle) and about half went out to far flung places.

Here are movement patterns of a few of the tortoises that I´ve mentioned. Each dot represents an hourly location starting from the introduction point (red dot). Klever, the tortoise who we had a hard time finding and then had to cut his logger off in the end, has the yellow dots that move straight up towards the top of the island. Wilman, who spent some time in the lava field, is in purple. Milton, who I put up a picture of trying to mount another tortoise, is in green. Johannah, a female who has stayed near the introduction point like most of the other females, is in red overlapping with Milton.