Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Emma in the Mara!

After David had been in the Mara for one week, one of my other professors, Dr. Emma Rosi-Marshall, flew in for a two week visit as well. Emma is a scientist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, and her research focuses on large river ecology and the influences of human inputs on river ecosystems. Emma's knowledge and experience working on rivers has been invaluable in helping us learn how to study the Mara, and her research on human inputs is critical to helping us sort out the effects of hippos versus people on the river.

Emma also has an experimental stream array she designed at the Cary Institute, and we based our experimental streams in the Mara on her designs, so it was great to have her here to help out with the start of the experiment.

Michael, Amanda, Emma, and David picking up the stream parts
Emma's first stop in Kenya was at a welding shop in Narok, where a very skilled welder named Michael Otieno had crafted paddlewheels, shafts, motor mounts and ball bearing stands to impressive precision out of simple materials based on some sketches in my notebook. Not the most glamorous way to be welcomed to the Mara, but as an avid river ecologist, Emma was excited to see the Kenyan version of her streams coming to life. By the end of the her first day in Kenya, all the pieces were in place to start actually building our streams.

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