Back from the field!
I am back in New York City and catching up on some posting before the academic year begins!
My first field season was a wonderful success. It was fantastic to see how much my advisors and I could accomplish within just one year. This was the first of many Florida trips for me, and it began with a 4 day drive from NYC to Homestead, FL--the last stop for any people who have driven down to the keys.
Homestead also happens to be the perfect location for studying the Common Myna (Acridotheres tristes), which is the invasive species of interest for my research. Since it was first spotted in Homestead in the mid-80s, likely a released pet, this was my home base for the month. During my time in Florida I collected a wealth of pilot data. I tested 3 different behavioral experiments in order to determine which would be feasible during subsequent seasons. It is likely I will run all 3 again since each went well.
During the field season I also had the good fortune of being able to attend the annual Everglades Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area (ECISMA) conference in Davie, FL. This work group brings together numerous agencies across Florida to share information on the state's introduced species. The discussion was fascinating, and while I was one of only a handful of people researching avian invaders, there was plenty of interest in my work with the mynas, and it was exciting to hear about all that is being done with reptiles, fish and invertebrates of the glades. The conference also introduced me to a cell phone app called IveGot1. This app allows users to identify, take photos and submit reports of invasives they see. This type of crowd sourcing appeals to my interest in both species distribution modeling and community outreach. I immediately downloaded the app, and tested it by uploading reports of Common Agamas (Agama agama) that I saw in multiple locations around Homestead.
Lastly, while I was in Florida researching the mynas, my artwork was also in Florida! It was on display at the SwampSpace gallery located in Miami's Design District. My work, which features two invasive species present in FL as well as a pair of hats (not depicting invasives), was included in the show which featured over a dozen artists. The gallery was curated by the band Pocket of Lollipops. Mid-way through the month I visited the gallery to give an artist/scientist talk about both my research in Homestead, and my experiences balancing both science and art throughout my career. It was a very fun evening of answering questions and discussing with attendees all the work yet to be done with the Myna system, as well as how my science research translates to my art practice.
I owe a big "thank you!" to everyone at Hunter College and Rutgers who made this field season happen, as well as colleagues down in Homestead who were extremely kind hosts.