Hi all! I’m Mackenzie, a first-year master’s student at UCLA. This is my first field season at RMBL, and what an experience it’s been so far!
One of the advantages of arriving with the early season crew is witnessing the dramatic change in seasons. From cross country skiing between field sites, to now wading through waist-deep vegetation, the landscape has completely transformed.
This explosion in greenery is beautiful, but it’s created new challenges in terms of my field work. My thesis is all about marmot shyness-boldness, which means that I need to collect Flight Initiation Distances from each individual marmot. This entails walking steadily towards a marmot until it runs away—sounds simple, right? It was in the snow, but now the vegetation has turned my subjects into tiny plant-munching submarines that completely disappear in the seas of tall grass. Thankfully my FID partner McKenna and I have collected data from almost all the animals, but just like Pokémon, we gotta catch ‘em all!
When I’m not (quite literally) chasing after marmots, I like to spend my time puzzling over crosswords, experimenting with plant-based recipes, and brainstorming names for my future dog. Can’t wait to see what the rest of the season brings!