Friday, July 29, 2011

The Joys of Research: The Box.

The Box.

We put marmots in a box called an 'arena' to see how they explore novel spaces and react to a mirror. Yearlings also get a shot of oxytocin up the nostril. We review and score their behavior with aid of a videocamera and a tripod.

Dynamite receiving his saline control (for the oxytocin tests).

There are a few boxes, but not enough for every site. Thus, we must haul them about in a cart. This is Matt.

The Lone Marmoteer.


F in the box.

Between trials, we have to clean the box with vinegar and water to ensure marmots don't get scent cues from each other. Problem is, I'm 5'2"ish...and the box is 3' deep. This means I can't reach the floor, where the marmots sweat, pee, and poo, by just leaning in. Instead, I have to go in and out like a test subject, through the small, small door the marmots use.
My P.I. (Dr. Blumstein) described this as 'precious'.

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