This week we finished vegetation surveys, which felt great! It’s one of the first major parts of the project that we have completed and represents most of our data! This week I spent a lot of time in the office preparing for data analysis and typing our research paper. Time will start going even faster now with how busy we’re going to be these last two weeks.
This week, I had the opportunity to record the sounds of distressed cicadas, aka their screams. If you've ever played Lego Star Wars and know the R2-D2 death noise, you know what they sound like. To scream, they use this rib cage thing on the side of their body that vibrates and creates noise, which is very cool to watch. The process of recording cicadas involves holding a microphone up to a restrained cicada as it screams for its life. It's really quite amusing. We also fini
This week we were given the opportunity to watch some presentations from the American Society of Mammalogy and gain a general understanding of what our own presentations should resemble. Now that the program is wrapping up and our presentations are looming over us, my partner and I have started the brainstorming process. Laboring over our thousands of photos has been a bit miserable at times, but thankfully it provides the perfect opportunity to listen to a true crime podcast
This past week I had to leave for a portion of it, so I didn’t do too much. However, we did get to pull some SD cards and conduct more vegetation surveys. It’s been a lot of fun walking though Indian Creek and finding herps on our way to our camera sites. Checking camera sites has been one of my favorite parts of this project!
Week six marked the last week of cicada surveys and camera data collection. The cicadas seemed to have disappeared just as swiftly as they appeared. Their bodies and body parts, such as their heads and wings, were strewn everywhere like a cicada cemetery. The rapid decrease in their numbers made it increasingly easier to count the cicadas during our surveys. This week we also learned how to perform habitat surveys at our sites, which I had never done before. It’s cool how the
Only two weeks are left, but I’m looking forward to the rest of this program! We finished sampling all of our trees and next week we’ll be in the lab. Dr. Lawson and Dr. Conrad have been extremely helpful and I don’t think we would’ve been nearly as successful with our project without them. I’ve learned new research techniques and experimental design this week and just how tiring field research can be!
This past week was spent collecting the last of our mesocosm samples, both zooplankton and water quality, and processing each of them. We had to push back pond sampling to early next week because we wanted to have a little more time to plan exactly what we needed to collect from the Purdue Wildlife Area ponds. I’ve learned that things go much more smoothly if you create a solid plan, so that’s what we did. I’m very excited about pond sampling and very enthusiastic about start
Six weeks down, two more to go! This week I got to listen to several graduate research presentations virtually from a conference that was happening during one of our workdays. I was blown away by how creative the researchers’ visuals were because they were so simple, but also provided enough information to understand the projects. After witnessing these presentations, I’ve learned that visuals can make presentations easier to understand and more aesthetically pleasing to look
This week we began to consolidate our data into one excel file. We started on some of our data analysis, but we realized the method we were using was very tedious and would take too long. Dr. Goforth was able to show us a few tricks that helped make our analysis a lot faster! In the little free time we had this week, we looked for salamanders in the stream and were able to find one, a red-backed salamander! Another thing that I really enjoyed about this week was looking at ou
This week patience was key. Research is sometimes messy and inefficient, and that can be challenging, especially since our internship is so short. As we start finishing up our projects, time management is becoming increasingly important. This past week we had some more complications with our cameras and while we got them fixed, it was still challenging. Soon, we will be compiling all of our data and starting data analysis. I’m looking forward to seeing all of our hard work co
This week we collected the last batch of zooplankton samples from our mesocosms. We’ve almost finished all of our identifications and by next week, we’ll have three weeks worth of data! Time has gone so fast and I’m proud of us for learning how to ID zooplankton and push through when things didn’t go as planned. To conclude week 6, we took a trip to the Dunes for a beach day and it was so fun. We got in the water even though it was very cold, and just hung out, enjoying the b
This week we learned how to write a resume for natural resources related positions and it was very enlightening. Just about everything I’ve ever learned about resume writing was the exact opposite for natural resources resumes! The highlight of my week was deploying the dissolved oxygen sensors in our selected bodies of water. Our mentor brought along some of his students as well and it was fun showing them what we’ve been up to. One of the most challenging parts of this week
It was supposed to rain this week. It did not rain. It was hot and humid instead. Michael and I were hoping for rain this past week so we wouldn’t be suffering in the field but we were disappointed when the sun was out all day, every day. Additionally, the cicadas finally decided to show up and our final plot was full of them. On some trees, it became very difficult to identify cankers because the cicadas resembled small cankers from a distance. However, we finished rating bu
One of the cool things I learned this week was how to build a good resume. I didn’t know that there were different resume practices and techniques depending on the field! We also had a presentation about student loans and finances which taught me a few new things as well and was overall very helpful. This past week we spent a majority of the time working through zooplankton identifications for our project and we’ve started feeling more confident in our abilities. I’m looking
Over the course of this past week we were able to conduct our sampling as normal. We learned just how long it would take to gather our samples and process them, so we were able to update our schedule to make sure we could get as many samples as possible before starting data manipulation and analysis. I’ve also gotten much faster at identifying zooplankton species as I don’t have to rely on the key nearly as much as I did initially! This week we also got to listen to several p
Week 5 involved a lot of tough field work. It was our first week of having 15 camera traps up, so we anticipate having to do a lot of vegetation surveys and camera data to check in the future. The wildlife in the area seemed to be more active this week as we saw red-eared sliders, northern water snakes, deer, raccoons, and, of course, plenty of cicadas. Our paper is slowly coming together and the anticipation of solidifying our findings and presenting them to our peers and me
This week was much better than the last. The cicadas finally started heading up into the trees and now there are less to count! That being said, they also started mating and laying nasty eggs in trees this week. I have seen way too much cicada sex in one week than anyone should see in their entire lifetime. It’s weird man. We also started a side project that involves capturing the different calls of Brood X cicadas. Some of it has been really fun, like holding cicadas and hea
Week 5 was pretty laid back for me! I continued working on assigning standards to the Freedom Seekers curriculum, and brainstormed a few future projects that I could work on during this internship. One project I'm super excited for is an idea I've had for a while, but never really had any time to work on. I want to write introductory environmental science books for children that feature different disabled characters that the readers encounter in each book. For example, in one
This week my partner and I deployed our first round of cameras with new SD cards and at two of our sites we found evidence of deer walking up to the cameras. Unfortunately, there was a malfunction with the SD cards at those two sites so we didn’t capture the deer on camera. This past week we also deployed our dissolved oxygen sensors into some of our selected water bodies. That meant we got to suit up in waders and really get into the water. While the heat didn’t make work ea
This week I learned a lot about financial skills because we had a speaker come in to talk about budgeting and student loans. He taught us about different strategies for tackling student loan debt and how to allocate money wisely. I hadn’t had any formal instruction on this kind of topic before so I thought it was very insightful! However, the best part of my week was finding two different snapping turtles at Purdue Wildlife Area. One of them was digging a hole on the side of