Articles from Field Dispatches

Can we make a hippo pool in a bottle?

November 13, 2016 - 10:36pm by Anonymous (not verified)

This summer Chris set up one of the big experiments for his dissertation. He is interested in studying the influence of the microbial community on biogeochemical cycling in the bottom of a hippo pool, and the interacting effects of carbon loading and microbial community structure on those effects. He came up with a really clever way to test this by developing small “hippo pools” in 1 liter bottles, which allowed him to have lots of replication across different treatments. In total, he set up around 150 bottles!

The migration

November 10, 2016 - 12:02am by Anonymous (not verified)

We drove up to the Old Mara Bridge today and could see huge expanses of the wildebeest herd as far as the eye could see, meandering across the savanna in straight lines, as they follow individuals they’ve seemingly randomly picked as the leader. 

James' Farewell

November 9, 2016 - 11:56pm by Anonymous (not verified)

After 6 weeks of studying, sampling and running an experiment in the Mara, it’s time for James to head home. For his farewell dinner, we pulled out all the stops with bacon cheeseburgers and cold Tuskers! 

The Yale Mara Field Crew

November 9, 2016 - 11:27pm by Anonymous (not verified)

We have had a great team of folks in the field this summer. David was able to come for 3 weeks, to help teach the food web course and start two big experiments, and it was so great to have him in the field for that long. His visit also overlapped with both Ella and James’s trips, so we had our full Yale team together. Good folks make all the difference in fieldwork, and this season, we truly couldn’t have had a better team.

Welcome to the Mara, Ella!

November 9, 2016 - 10:03pm by Anonymous (not verified)

Ella Jourdain, an undergraduate student at Yale and a participant in our NSF-funded Research Experience for Undergraduates program, just arrived in the Mara. Ella will be doing research this summer on the influence of hippos on greenhouse gas emissions from the river, using both field and experimental approaches. Ella is from NYC and has never been camping before, but she is excited to spend her summer in a remote field camp with no electricity or running water– pretty awesome! Karibu Ella!

Streams up and running!

November 8, 2016 - 12:05am by Anonymous (not verified)

We set up our streams on the concrete pad, filled them with water, lined them with sand and gravel, and plugged in the motors. We watched the water start to lazily move around the 18 little rivers, riffling over cobbles, moving sand around the bends, and we took a moment to celebrate. We got our artificial stream experiment up and running in the middle of the Maasai Mara! 

Will they survive for the duration of the experiment? No idea.