Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Far away, but closer than ever

We have been writing a lot recently about our departure from the Mara. We’ll be returning to the USA and Yale for the next six months so I can attend spring semester there and catch up on sample processing and data analysis. However, just because we won’t be physically living in the Mara, that doesn't mean we won’t be continuing to write about it. Here are some of the things you can expect to see us posting about in the coming months…

  • Now that we have live cameras posted on a hippo pool and trail in the Mara, we will be continuing to share real-time photos of the Mara River and talk about how we are using that data to better understand hippo behavior and how it may impact the river.
  • We also have amazing real-time water quality and discharge data from the river, so even though we’ll be on the other side of the world, we’ll know what’s happening in the river at any point in time. For example, over coffee this morning in Nairobi, Chris and I watched as the river rose and turbidity levels climbed for the second time in less than 24 hours. We have spent many mornings sitting at Maji Camp, just a few kilometers from the river, wondering how the night’s rain had affected the river, but not knowing until we traveled an hour to download data from our meter. We’ll be sharing this data as it happens and talking about what it means.
  • Much of what we've done over our last six months in the Mara was collect samples—aquatic macroinvertebrates, water, sediments, plants, hippo poop, more water… now comes the analysis of all those samples. Although lab analysis is generally less fun that field collection, we’ll be getting a ton of cool data over the next few months that we’re really excited about. You can expect to hear both about the daily grind of lab work – the less exotic but equally critical side of field research – and some of the cool things we are learning.
  • By reading newspapers online, checking our favorite blogs and websites and catching up with friends in Kenya, we’ll continue to stay informed about goings-on in Kenya and the Mara even during our absence. For example, there’s a huge election in Kenya on March 4 that will not only decide the new President, but also many new offices created by the new Constitution that was just passed last year. There’s a lot of excitement and apprehension about this election, and we’ll be following the news closely.
  • Despite our best efforts at keeping up with the blog, there are still a lot of great pictures and stories we’re looking forward to sharing from our past six months in the field. We have pictures measuring carcass decay rate, game trails at night, go pro video of a hot air balloon flight over the river and more that we look forward to finally getting posted.
  • Anything else? If there are any other kinds of pictures or information you would like us to share or post more about, leave a comment and let us know!

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