Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Welcome Alex!

Hello, my name is Alexandra Jebb and I am a first year PhD student at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. I have been lucky enough to be selected to work on the Marmot Project by my supervisor Julien Martin and was very excited to get started!

I will be working on ecological and evolutionary topics by combining investigations in to the long-term data and laboratory analysis of physiological markers in blood samples. My key aim is to look into adaptive concepts such as the predictive effects of early life environment on how well suited an individual is to their adult environment (focussing on Silver Spoon Effects and the Predictive Adaptive Response).

So far I have been well looked after by the marmot team and Dan and have been learning to handle individuals and to observe the colonies. Already I have been charmed by these animals and their quirks and can't wait to spend many more months in their company! 

Please feel free to follow my twitter @AHMJebb1 if you want to see how I get on!

Saturday, June 9, 2018

early June update

I've been back out in the field since Memorial Day and it's been crazy busy. Julien has been visiting and we're all working on a new workflow to use tablet computers to save time updating all the trap bags. I've always been skeptical of using tablets for data collection because if you collect data and they break before they can be backed up you've lost everything, and because you can do a lot with data sheets and notes which then later get abstracted into formal electronic data sheets for analysis. Anyway, after a lot of discussion, we're taking the plunge. Data will still be written down on paper when we're trapping animals but it will be entered into the computer immediately upon return to the lab and all the tablets will sync with the newest trapping data. This should save a lot of time. Julien has programmed in a lot of checks on data to hopefully reduce entry errors. Fingers crossed.

Gizmodo was here the other day filming the marmot project as part of a series on field stations around the world. Excited to see what emerges from that.

Trapping is going well, but since there's so much delicious green food around, marmots are a bit less interested in our bait. Oh well. The challenges of fieldwork.

Ipek Kulachi, a postdoc who studies cognition in the wild, has been visiting. We've been talking a bunch about possible projects.

We're still training new people as they arrive. Julien came with his graduate student Alex, who will introduce herself shortly. Three more new folks to go!

RMBL summer program is officially beginning today. The valley is beginning to get busy and I'm spending my 'day off' catching up with correspondence and other projects. Back to that!