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Expeditions


Field notes from the far reaches of exploration
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    Ever wonder what it's really like to be working in Antarctica or collecting core samples from the middle of the Pacific Ocean? Get a first-hand feel for scientific exploration by following the blog posts of researchers out in the field.
  • Call of the Orangutan: The Importance of Play

    Suci breastfeeding 3-year-old Siboy, who must still be carried by his mother while traveling through the canopy. (Photo: James Askew)

    The past couple of months have been excellent for our data collection, as we’ve encountered a number of parties of orangutans. This is a more common occurrence in the high productivity forests of Sumatra, where we’re working, than on Borneo, where animals tend to be much more dispersed due to limitations in food availability. For [...]

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    Along the Tiger’s Trail: Where Are the Cats Found and Why?

    Grid array overlaid across Malenad landscape for tiger occupancy surveys (left). Traditional, presence-only surveys (center) underestimated tiger occupancy by 45% when compared to occupancy modeling (right), which estimated that tigers occupied 66% of the landscape.

    A team of four WCS India Program field members are sweating it out in the rugged hilly terrain of Malenad. Walking neither too fast, nor too slow, they follow a trail, diligently observing and recording signs of tigers and other wildlife along the way. The solitary bark of an alarmed deer nearby instinctively makes them [...]

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    Along the Tiger’s Trail: What’s in Scat?

    Tiger scat on the forest floor. (Courtesy of WCS India)

    Editor’s Note: “Along the Tiger’s Trail” is a  series about the efforts to monitor tigers and their prey in the Malenad landscape in southwestern India that harbors one of the world’s largest population of wild tigers. The series tracks on-going annual activities of the world’s longest running research project on tiger and their prey, implemented [...]

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    Call of the Orangutan: Rescuing a Crashed Drone

    Using a second UAV, SOCP's Graham Usher was able to locate the drone lost the week before, which sat on top of the tree canopy. (Photo by Graham Usher)

    Editor’s Note: This is the second part of a two-part post about using drone technology to search for orangutans around the Sikundur research station in North Sumatra. To read the first part, click here. For all posts in the series, “Call of the Orangutan,” click here. After our drone, which was designed to help our [...]

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    Call of the Orangutan: Using Drones to Scan the Forest

    A collection of photos of orangutan nests taken by different survey flights. (Photo courtesy of Conservation Drones)

    Editor’s Note: This is the first part of a two-part post about using drone technology to search for orangutans around the Sikundur research station in North Sumatra. To read the second part, click here. For all posts in the series, “Call of the Orangutan,” click here. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or drones, are increasingly being [...]

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    Extreme Ice Survey: Farewell to the Antarctic Peninsula

    Dan McGrath and Matthew Kennedy attempt to excavate a battery box that became entombed in ice over the winter. Thankfully the cameras still functioned properly. ©2014 Extreme Ice Survey/Stephen Nowland.

    Editors Note: Members of the Extreme Ice Survey team are returning to South Georgia Island and the Antarctic Peninsula to maintain time-lapse camera systems. These cameras have been patiently snapping a photo every hour of every day since they were installed and are part of a much larger project that includes 38 time-lapse cameras spread [...]

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    Along the Tiger’s Trail: It’s All in the Stripes

    A 3D model wireframe fit onto a tiger with ExtractCompare sof​tware.

    Editor’s Note: “Along the Tiger’s Trail” is a  series about the efforts to monitor tigers and their prey in the Malenad landscape in southwestern India that harbors one of the world’s largest population of wild tigers. The series tracks on-going annual activities of the world’s longest running research project on tiger and their prey, implemented [...]

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    Neutrinos on Ice: Launching the Balloon

    The tip of the balloon is filled with helium. (Credit: Christian Miki)

    Editor’s Note: Welcome to ANITA, the Antarctic Impulsive Transient Antenna! From October to December, Katie Mulrey is traveling with the ANITA collaboration to Antarctica to build and launch ANITA III, a scientific balloon that uses the entire continent of Antarctica for neutrino and cosmic ray detection. This is the sixth installment in a series, “Neutrinos on Ice,” documenting that effort. [...]

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    Extreme Ice Survey: Installing the Palmer Station Cameras

    The jagged edge of the Marr Ice Piedmont towers above the frigid waters of Arthur Harbor. During the installation the familiar sound of calving seracs constantly echoed through the air. (©Extreme Ice Survey/Stephen Nowland)

    Editors Note: Members of the Extreme Ice Survey team are returning to South Georgia Island and the Antarctic Peninsula to maintain time-lapse camera systems. These cameras have been patiently snapping a photo every hour of every day since they were installed and are part of a much larger project that includes 38 time-lapse cameras spread [...]

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    Along the Tiger’s Trail: Trapping Season Begins

    A photograph from a camera-trap. (Courtesy of K. Ullas Karanth/WCS)

    Editor’s Note: “Along the Tiger’s Trail” is a  series about the efforts to monitor tigers and their prey in the Malenad landscape in southwestern India that harbors one of the world’s largest population of wild tigers. The series tracks on-going annual activities of the world’s longest running research project on tiger and their prey, implemented [...]

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