April 30, 2019

Journal Entry 2

This past week in the field was filled with lots of excitement. During the 15 minutes of silence I was quietly pacing back and forth along the bank of the vernal pond. I not only wanted to hear the noises of nature but also try to detect where the noises were coming from. During this time I heard the same general sounds from the past two weeks, but also could hear splashing. This was intriguing as in the weeks prior there had been little to no activity in the water. I went to investigate and kept seeing ripples in the water from something, which we later identified to be a frog, submerging into the water to hide. I followed the frog for about a minute to make sure I hadn't imagined the movement before breaking the silence and calling out to the rest of my team to come and see the exciting discovery. We then proceeded to span the pond in search of frogs, and one of the members came very close to catching one. As I continued to walk up and down the pond, I was far more aware of the ripples that were popping up all over. There was way more activity this week than there was last week.

Another thing to note that was new was the presence of mosquito larvae in the water. There were so many babies swimming around that hadn't been present in the past weeks. Though the vernal pond has been in tact over the past few weeks, the warmer weather is bringing forth more organisms who are going to breed and lay their eggs in the safe, shallow waters. Along with the larvae, the mosquitoes (and other insects) were thriving, flying around everywhere. Again, this was a large contrast with the past few weeks. It really got me thinking about how only a few days can have such a strong effect on an environment. That said, research field work for must be harder than I had initially thought because there are far more variables to consider when outside that don't need to be accounted for inside (weather, time of year, scaring away things you want to observe, etc.).

Finally, as I was walking back to the biocube to prepare to leave the pond, I stumbled upon a bunny at the edge of the water. That was the first mammal I had seen near the pond and was very excited to see it. Unfortunately, I saw the bunny too late and scared it away, otherwise I would have observed it for a bit to see how it was interacting with the pond. However, it noticed me before I noticed it and scampered off before I could do anything. Regardless, seeing the bunny along with the other flourish of life within and around the pond was very exciting and I'm glad I was able to witness the slow development of the ecosystem over the past three weeks.

Posted on April 30, 2019 01:27 by jade1700 jade1700 | 0 comments | Leave a comment

April 23, 2019

Journal Entry 1

While out in the field this past week I was able to observe far more than I expected. The first week, when we were introduced to our environments, I did not pay as close attention to the details of the environment and the organisms thriving there. This week though, I approached the vernal pond in which we placed our BioCube with fresh eyes and was amazed with what I saw. Also, the 15 minutes of silence was also more fruitful then I expected it to be.

15 minutes of silence:
During the time of silence, there was more activity than I had initially realized. Not only were the birds very lively and communicative, I was able to hear different calls of different breeds. Initially I assumed it was one species of bird, or maybe two, but when I listened closer I realized that it was many more species all chirping at the same time. This was fascinating to listen to as they were each communicating with other members of their populations without interfering with different species' calls. Another thing I was more aware of was the sound of the moving trees. Last week, I heard the brush and leaves moving in the wind however this week I was more attuned to the movement and creaks of the trees located near the pond. The wood didn't appear to be moving but when I simply listened I could hear it moving in the wind. When I first heard it, it reminded me of the sound I would hear when a wooden swing set would move, so I was surprised. The trees, which did not look like they were moving at all were making far more noise than I would have ever noticed without paying close attention. Finally, a new, somewhat startling, thing that I heard was the voices of other neighboring groups. The first week in the field, I hadn't been able to hear any other groups talking, or perhaps I did but I didn't even notice I could hear them, but during this week the human voices stood out more prominently. They seemed more out of place too as I didn't expect them to be mixing in with the sounds of the nature around me. When I heard them, as I said before, I was startled by how loud and, almost aggressive, they sounded in contrast to the other natural sounds that I had been listening to.

Environment observations:
After this past week, I realized that I missed so much during my "exploration" on the first week of lab. What I had initially viewed as an only semi-diverse environment was actually teeming with far more organisms than I realized. As I was more attentive during the moment of silence, I was also more attentive in the observations I was making. One practice that I really enjoyed while observing the ecosystem was sitting at the edge of the vernal pool for about 5 or more minutes completely still. I just watched the water and what was going on in and around the pool and noticed more than I expected. There were so many bugs flying around and landing in the water, interacting with the plants and abiotic parts of the ecosystem. Also, there were so many spiders roaming around in the brush. While I am not a fan of spiders at all, I was intrigued by the sheer number I saw. I tried to count each of the arachnids that I came across while making my way around the pool and lost count around 15 within about 10 minutes. The small details which I skipped over so easily the first week were much more prominent this past week when I really took the time to sit and observe and look with more attentive eyes. I'm extremely excited to go back next week to see just how much I missed just like last week. There is so much more to vernal pools than I realized, and it is fascinating that each time I have gone back I have been more aware of my surroundings and of nature as a whole.

Posted on April 23, 2019 01:51 by jade1700 jade1700 | 0 comments | Leave a comment