Hello! My name is Mr. Greenslate. Please join me as I travel to Nova Scotia to study mammal populations!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Video Conference Follow-up & Lemming Release

Thanks for a great video-conference today!

Because of the travel time between the research site and the cottage in Cherry Hill, I was really only able to check our traps, release the animals, reset the traps before having to come back for our talk.

I hope that you learned something new from myself and from Principal Investigator Dr. Chris Newman from the University of Oxford.

Last night we had a very informative lecture from Dr. Newman about how climate change is impacting small mammals and what that means for us as well as the animals. It was both nuanced and engaging. Tonight we're heading to do some beaver watching (weather permitting), so look for a new post tomorrow!

Today's Question: What are some of the characteristics of the Souther Bog Lemming that I released today?

- Mr. Greenslate

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Checking Traps, Placing Cameras, Building!

We awoke this morning and headed back to the Cook's Lake research site where the first order of business was to check the small mammal traps we set yesterday. We climbed down the hill and into the forest checking our traps as we went along. Our first set of ten had not been triggered, but five of our traps in the woods seemed to have animals inside; two more were still set, and the other three had been ripped apart, most likely by a raccoon.

After we brought our traps back to the meet-up site we learned the correct method for removing and handling the animals. Principal Investigator Dr. Buesching took great care to make sure that we understood how to work with the animals so that they would not feel an inordinate amount of discomfort or stress, and then we each took turns removing the animals from the traps. In the video you'll see me releasing a red-backed vole; I named him Francis.

As we removed each small mammal, Dr. Buesching weighed them and recorded other pertinent information: species, sex, age, reproductive ability, etc., and then we were sent to release them back where they had been captured. Once all the traps had been checked for animals we reset them and went on to placing infrared camera traps around the research site in hopes of getting photos of animals at different locations.

We ended today by splitting in to two teams. Some of us used GPS tools to map trails and topography of the site, while myself and others picked up saws and hammers and helped build a small research station. Afterwards we re-checked our traps, recorded data, released the animals, reset the traps, and then headed for the cottage in Cherry Hill. All in all an exhausting day.

Today's question: What small mammals, besides the red-backed vole, are native to the south shore of Nova Scotia where I am assisting in this research?

- Mr. Greenslate

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Placing Traps

After learning some of the history about the area where the research site is located, Dr. Buesching taught us how to setup and place Longworth traps so that we can collect data about the mouse and vole populations here in Nova Scotia.

These traps are filled with warm bedding and enough food to last the mouse for far longer than the evening they could potentially stay locked inside. In the morning we will visit our traps to see if any small mammals have been caught and if so we'll learn how the animals are doing, and by continuous trapping and recording we'll start to see some evidence about the population density.

Tomorrow we'll learn from Dr. Chris Newman about how climate change is impacting these animals, and other small mammals in Nova Scotia.

My legs are sore and I'm pretty tired after an afternoon of trekking through unbridled forest area in order to set out our traps, but I'm excited to see what tomorrow will bring.

For today's question, I'm wondering what small mammal species reside around High Tech High North County? How do you know this?

Challenge question: What research has been done in our area about how human activity impacts these mammal populations?

Until tomorrow,
Mr. Greenslate

Monday, September 27, 2010

Teaching from Nova Scotia w/ Earthwatch: Getting Oriented

Having spent about eight hours getting to Nova Scotia I was pretty tired by the time I met the Earthwatch team at the Halifax airport, and with the research site about two hours from the airport I was more than tired when I arrived here in Cherry Hill. After a brief view of our itinerary for the next two weeks we had dinner and introduced
ourselves, and then it was off to bed.

Today we spent the morning learning from Dr. Christina Buesching about Mammal Monitoring Science and why the studying of small mammals in this area is important environmental research. Additionally, we learned about her work with the Wildlife Conservation Unit at the University of Oxford (United Kingdom), in what is currently the longest running study of medium-sized carnivores (badgers) on earth.

We discussed the specific features of mammals, some of the techniques we'll use in the field to calculate their population density, and what some of the scat (poop) looks like for mammals such as porcupines, deer, hares, and black bears. We also learned about why there are only 600 moose left in Nova Scotia, and what is killing them.

Later in the day we took a three hour hike from Broad Cove to Green Bay and started identifying signs of mammals (bones, scat, footprints, fur, etc.).

Today I would like you to share with me what is it that defines a mammal.

Challenge question: What is killing the mainland moose, and how is it doing so?

- Mr. Greenslate

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Getting Ready for Research

As we wrap up the "Geography of We" and move into the "EarthSpeak" project, I will be heading to Nova Scotia to see how climate change is impacting mammal populations. While I'm gone I will be posting here daily so that you can see what I'm up to, as well as giving you questions to answer. Make sure you check each day and post your responses to the topics!

I will do my best to post video footage while I'm on the expedition, as I want to bring you as close to the action as possible.

The first assignment for while I'm gone is just to post a comment on this blog so that I can verify that you've checked in and that all is functioning correctly. So, the first question for this trial is:

What is one thing that is interesting about Nova Scotia?
(You must write something that hasn't already been posted by one of your peers!)

I look forward to your replies!

- Mr. Greenslate