I am a wanderer-observer, especially in places I haven’t been before. Even in urban settings, I take walks whenever I get the chance, taking in what bits of nature are available. Much of what I find is unusual and unexpected, so urban wanderings often amount to extraordinary nature adventures.Read More
There are plenty of metaphors in life for barriers, real and imagined, and they are powerful forces.Read More
It’s been over a year since I defended my dissertation. About halfway through this year, after I had rattled off my eclectic work schedule and paltry list of formal postdoc applications, a friend and former lab mate suggested that this would simply be my “post-doc gap year”.Read More
"A Cactus doesn't live in the desert because it likes the desert. It lives there because the desert hasn't killed it yet." - Hope Jahren, Lab GirlRead More
This sh*t is getting personal.
At 8:45 pm on Monday December 4, I was packing up to leave a meeting in downtown Ojai when I noticed my phone screen lit up with several texts.Read More
While planning the dissertation work that would ultimately consume the next 6.5 years of my life in graduate school, I learned an intriguing bit of information about the native amphibians of southern California. I was familiar with all of the amphibian species I could find in different habitats in the region, and was surprised to learn that a species—one I had never heard of—was missing, and had been for almost 40 years.Read More
Conservation biology has long been held as a crisis discipline. We work hard for modest gains, and setbacks are the norm. But every once in awhile, evidence that blood, sweat, and tears expended for the perpetuation of Earth’s biodiversity effects positive change, and that is worth celebrating.
From 2008 to 2015, I worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. During my last year with the agency, and because of my dissertation research on amphibian disease and my years of regulatory experience with an endangered salamander species, I was asked to join a team of agency scientists to write a Lacey Act rule that would list certain salamander species as injurious.Read More
This was my final trip of the summer, and fittingly the season was fading just as my time there was. This week brought on the weather—thunderstorms, blustery winds, and cooler temperatures day and night. The frogs are showing the shift—an adult mountain yellow-legged frog sat on a rock in the stream very near where we saw her last week, but this time flattening herself, trying to warm up in the waning rays of late summer.Read More
This week I returned to the same site as last time, and so it is becoming a home away from home. Over time, I’ve learned that staying put provides new opportunities for discovery that were never possible with a just brief visit.Read More
This week, we hiked to the site where my field partner and I will spend our next three 10-day trips. This basin is very different from the last, and about 400 feet lower, with more trees and fewer frogs. Having been hit by the amphibian chytrid fungus, the mountain yellow-legged frog populations here are persisting at a very low level. Frogs are even being flown up to higher fishless lakes in the basin to try to bolster their numbers, and this basin harbors one of those lakes.Read More
"OH MY GOSH, YOU GUYS--LOOK AT THE FROGS!!!"
This was the sound of a coworker's reaction to seeing mountain yellow-legged frogs for the first time. These aren't just any frogs. They live only in these high elevation lakes and have suffered catastrophic losses from non-native fish predation and infectious disease. At a series of lakes that perfectly mirror the craggy, snow-flanked peaks above, we do our restoration work for these frogs.Read More
This week kicked off my first full summer of field work in quite a long time, and I'm thrilled to be part of Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks' aquatic restoration team. I will be posting updates here on the adventures that lie ahead.Read More