Tag Archives: costa rica

‘Life as Research Scientist’: Lauren Cruz, Wildlife Ecologist

Wildlife biologist Lauren Cruz is dedicated to the conservation of coastal ecosystems. She is a recent graduate from the University of Delaware and currently having a B.S. in Wildlife Conservation, Agricultural and Natural Resources and a minor in Entomology. Miss Cruz plans to pursue a M.S. in Marine Science. She attended the Brown University Environmental Leadership Lab on the Big Island of Hawai’i and participated in several projects in different wildlife fields while at the University of Delaware. During her summers, she worked at the Sedge Island Natural Resource Education Center where she lead kayak tours and taught visiting groups about the marsh ecosystem and its inhabitants.

As part of our series on ‘life as research scientist’ we approached Miss Cruz with our questions, and here we have the answers about her research and others:

Q. Let us start with your research topic. What is your research area? Will you please tell us a bit more on this? What did you find?

Lauren Cruz:  I am currently working with The Leatherback Trust which is a non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of leatherbacks and other sea turtle species. My team monitors the nesting ecology of leatherback, black and olive ridley sea turtles in Parque Nacional Marino Las Baulas (Leatherback National Marine Park) in Playa Grande, Costa Rica. Paying special attention to leatherbacks, we are adding to 20 years of continuous sea turtle data on this beach. Many biologists have conducted research on this beach and have filled many gaps in our understanding of leatherback ecology. Some examples include finding the incubation temperature at which sex is determined for leatherbacks, placing transmitters on leatherbacks to see where they migrate to after egg laying as well as monitoring the temperatures and possible effects climate change can have on turtle nesting. The leatherback population has dropped by about 98% since the start of the project.  (more…)

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‘Life as Research Scientist’: Grant Connette, Population Biologist

Grant Connette received a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology from Davidson College in 2008.  In the Fall of 2009 he began a Ph.D. program in Biology at the University of Missouri.  His general research interests include various aspects of the population ecology, movement behavior, and landscape-scale distributions of animals.  Much of his current research focuses on the behavior, population dynamics, and landscape ecology of terrestrial salamanders in forest landscapes managed for timber production.

Recently we asked Mr. Connette about his research, why it is important and so on. Here is what we learned from him:

Q. Let us start with your research topic. What is your research area? Will you please tell us a bit more on this? What did you find?

Grant Connette: I study the dynamics of salamander populations in forests of the eastern United States.  Much of my current research focuses on how salamander populations respond to timber harvest (i.e. logging).  In a recent study, Dr. Raymond Semlitsch and I found that salamanders are less common in “young” forest (even areas harvested 80-100 years ago) than in more mature forest.  We also found that salamander species which differ in their ability to disperse, or move across the landscape, recovered from timber harvest at different rates.  Species that naturally tend to move more may have recovered faster because there is emigration from surrounding areas that helps rebuild populations after a disturbance like timber harvest. (more…)

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Leatherback sea turtles

UD alumna studies leatherback sea turtles in Costa Rica

It’s not every day that you get to see a creature that has been around for 110 million years emerge from the ocean and lay its eggs on the beach. Unless, of course, you’re like University of Delaware graduate Lauren Cruz, who spends her days in Costa Rica with the Leatherback Trust studying leatherback sea turtle nesting ecology.

Cruz, a 2013 graduate who studied wildlife conservation in UD’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, is tracking the demographics of the turtles that nest at Playa Grande and Parque Nacional de las baulas — which translates to the park of leatherback sea turtles — and spends her nights with a team patrolling the beach looking for nesting turtles.  (more…)

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Singing Mice Protect Their Turf With High-Pitched Tunes

AUSTIN, Texas — Two species of tawny brown singing mice that live deep in the mountain cloud forests of Costa Rica and Panama set their boundaries by emitting high-pitched trills, researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have discovered.

Although males of both the Alston’s singing mouse (Scotinomys teguina) and Chiriqui singing mouse (S. xerampelinus sing to attract mates and repel rivals within their respective species, the findings show for the first time that communication is being used to create geographic boundaries between species.

In this case, the smaller Alston’s mouse steers clear of its larger cousin, the Chiriqui. (more…)

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Some volcanoes ‘scream’ at ever-higher pitches until they blow their tops

It is not unusual for swarms of small earthquakes to precede a volcanic eruption. They can reach a point of such rapid succession that they create a signal called harmonic tremor that resembles sound made by various types of musical instruments, though at frequencies much lower than humans can hear.

A new analysis of an eruption sequence at Alaska’s Redoubt Volcano in March 2009 shows that the harmonic tremor glided to substantially higher frequencies and then stopped abruptly just before six of the eruptions, five of them coming in succession. (more…)

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Saving Lives Worldwide by Training International Volcano Scientists

VANCOUVER, Wash. – Scientists and technicians who work at volcano observatories in nine countries are visiting Mount St. Helens and the U.S. Geological Survey Volcano Science Center’s Cascades Volcano Observatory this week to learn techniques for monitoring active volcanoes. Organized by the Center for the Study of Active Volcanoes at the University of Hawaiʻi, Hilo, with support from the VSC-managed joint USGS-USAID Volcano Disaster Assistance Program, the annual program has been training foreign scientists for 22 years. This year’s class includes volcano scientists from Ecuador, Colombia, Peru, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Canada, Indonesia, Italy, and Papua New Guinea.

The International Training Program in Volcano Hazards Monitoring is designed to assist other nations in attaining self-sufficiency in monitoring volcanoes and reducing the risks from eruptions. Through in-class instruction at two USGS volcano observatories, and field exercises in Hawaiʻi and at Mount St. Helens, U.S. scientists are providing training on monitoring methods, data analysis and interpretation, and volcanic hazard assessment, and participants are taught about the use and maintenance of volcano monitoring instruments. Additionally, participants learn about focusing on forecasting and rapid response during volcanic crises, and how to work with governing officials and the news media to save lives and property. (more…)

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Children’s Book Author

CEHD alumna writes children’s book about animal friends on St. Kitts

Can a dog and a monkey be best friends? In Heidi Fagerberg’s first children’s book, Lion Paw and Oliver – An Unlikely Friendship, readers learn that the answer is yes.

Fagerberg, a University of Delaware College of Education and Human Development alumna, is writing a series of realistic fiction children’s books centered around the theme “Living the Beach Life.” It is based on orphaned animals found near her home on St. Kitts, an island in the Caribbean. (more…)

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The Original Twitter? Tiny Electronic Tags Monitor Birds’ Social Networks

If two birds meet deep in the forest, does anybody hear? Until now, nobody did, unless an intrepid biologist was hiding underneath a bush and watching their behavior, or the birds happened to meet near a research monitoring station. But an electronic tag designed at the University of Washington can for the first time see when birds meet in the wild.

A new study led by a biologist at Scotland’s University of St. Andrews used the UW tags to see whether crows might learn to use tools from one another. The findings, published last week in Current Biology, supported the theory by showing an unexpected amount of social mobility, with the crows often spending time near birds outside their immediate family. (more…)

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