Articles from Field Dispatches

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. 

Artificial streams in the middle of the Mara

November 8, 2016 - 12:00am by Anonymous (not verified)

We set up our first artificial stream experiment in 2014, using a portable artificial stream array we built in Kenya. It was so exciting to be able to conduct rigorous experiments in the field, with controls and replication, which is usually quite difficult to do at the ecosystem scale at which we normally work. In 2014, we set up the stream array at the Mara River Water User’s Association in Mulot, which is a grassroots water resource management group.

And some fencing....

November 7, 2016 - 11:54pm by Anonymous (not verified)

We were planning to set up 18 artificial streams in the middle of the Maasai Mara, fill them with water, put rotting wildebeest meat in several, and run an experiment for several weeks during which three rows of propellers had to turn 24 hours a day to circulate the water and nothing in the streams could be disturbed.

There’s a lot of very large wildlife in the Maasai Mara, including a lot of animals that might be attracted to either water or the smell of rotting meat.

Welcome to the Mara, James!

November 7, 2016 - 11:52pm by Anonymous (not verified)

This summer we have two undergraduate students joining us in the Mara for the first time. They are part of a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program through our National Science Foundation grant. The first student, James Landefeld, joined us in the Mara this week. James will be conducting research on the influence of hippo and wildebeest inputs on the Mara River food web, using both field sampling and artificial streams. Karibu James!

Food Web Short Course

November 7, 2016 - 10:48pm by Anonymous (not verified)

This year we taught our first short course on food webs and stable isotope ecology in the Mara River. The course was taught by myself, David Post, Emma Rosi-Marshall and Frank Masese, with funding from the National Science Foundation. We had 12 participants from Yale University, the National Museums of Kenya, Egerton University and Eldoret University. Some of the course participants were senior scientists or professors interested in learning more about these topics, and others were undergraduate or graduate students still planning their research.