Articles from Field Dispatches


March 21, 2014 - 1:59pm by Anonymous (not verified)

So here’s how Tuesday unfolded…

2:50 pm - Alternator bearing froze in the middle of the Mara. We had already been suspicious of the new sound coming from our engine, and a friend’s mechanic had checked it out, diagnosed the problem, and determined we could safely drive the 2 hours to the nearest town. We broke down a few hundred meters later.

Can a robotic boat tell us what's at the bottom of a hippo pool?

March 12, 2014 - 2:49pm by Anonymous (not verified)

What happens inside of a hippo pool? Is it deep with a hard bottom, because the hippos are always wallowing out the mud and sediment? Or is it shallow with a soft bottom, because there are lots of hippos defecting inside of it all the time? How do the pools compare to the river reaches up and downstream? Wouldn’t you love to know what is happening at the bottom of a hippo pool? So would we!

Closing the streams

March 8, 2014 - 4:00am by Anonymous (not verified)

After about a month of running our experimental streams, it was time to finish out the experiment. The main thing we wanted to measure was how much biofilm and of what different types grew in the streams under different treatments. Biofilms are groups of microorganisms which grow on a surface. We usually think of biofilms as being comprised of algae, but they can also have a lot of bacteria in them as well.

It all comes back to silica

March 7, 2014 - 11:57pm by Anonymous (not verified)

After Emma and David left, we hosted two colleagues from Antwerp University, Belgium, in the Mara. Jonas Schoelynck and Eric Struyf study silica cycling and are particularly interested in the role animals might play in the silica cycle. 

How to flush a hippo pool

March 6, 2014 - 5:00pm by Anonymous (not verified)

I know our last post was several weeks ago, so you all probably think we have been off celebrating ever since getting our experimental streams up and running… Well, we did do some celebrating, but we’ve also been super busy with a lot of other cool science work. Having the streams work well just opened up a lot of time for us to do other things.