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Expeditions

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.
  • Return to the Antikythera Shipwreck: Marine Archaeology Goes High-Tech

    The Antikythera Mechanism (fragment A) on display in the National Archaeological Museum, Athens, Greece. (Credit: Tilemahos Efthimiadis via Flickr)

    Editor’s Note: Veteran science journalist Philip Hilts is working with a team of archaeologists, engineers and divers off the shore of Antikythera, a remote Greek island, where a treasure ship by the same name sank in 70 B.C. New, high-tech gear is allowing the team for the first time to examine and excavate a wreck [...]

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    Journey Through the Brain: Multiphoton Microscopy

    Two-photon microscopy image of a neuron published in PNAS by Holbro N et al. (2009)

    It’s a Saturday and you’re on vacation, looking out over the beautiful blue Pacific Ocean from the windy cliffs of Big Sur. You breathe in cool, fresh salty air. A thunderous pummel of great waves stirs neural networks in your brain and suddenly you find yourself wondering what lies submerged beneath the foaming sea. Seals [...]

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    Journey Through the Brain: MIT Neurotech

    Neurotech_MRI_Community

    Editor’s note: This is the first installment in a series about emerging neurotechnologies. Join a pilot class of 12 PhD students at MIT as we explore how neuroscience is revolutionizing our understanding of the brain. Each post coincides with a lecture and lab tour at MIT created by the Center for Neurobiological Engineering. This experiment [...]

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    Call of the Orangutan: How to Follow an Orangutan

    Siboy

    In my previous post, I wrote about the first task in studying orangutan behavior: finding the animals. In this one I’ll explain the second major task: following them. First things first, not to spoil anyone’s ideas about the glamor of being an orangutan researcher, but in my honest opinion the majority of “follows” are awful! [...]

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    Call of the Orangutan: How to Find an Orangutan

    Field assistant Ben searches for an orangutan at location A425 on the Sikundur grid.

    While many animal researchers use fancy scientific methods to analyze data and samples they’ve collected, the mechanics of virtually every animal behavior study begins with finding an animal or animals and recording its or their behavior at a given interval to produce what’s called an ethogram. So, in this blog I’ll be running through the [...]

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    Call of the Orangutan: An Ape Named James

    Siboy

    It has been an exceptionally exciting and productive first month for me at the Sikundur research station. I couldn’t have asked for much more in terms of data, and it’s been so hectic that sitting here in Medan, the capital city of North Sumatra, it seems like far longer than a month since I started! [...]

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    Call of the Orangutan: Welcome to Camp

    The research camp centers around a cabin built by Leuser International Foundation that was renovated in 2013

    It’s taken a bit longer than I’d initially anticipated, but I’m finally at my first field site, Sikundur in North Sumatra, which will be my home for the next eight months. The research and monitoring station is located in the east of the spectacular Gunung Leuser National Park, a UNESCO world heritage site, which is [...]

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    Climbing Mount Everest: Black Soot on White Snow

    Smog in the air, even at 17,000 feet, near Mount Everest base camp.

    Editor’s Note: This is the fifth and final post in a series by geologist Ulyana Horodyskyj. She climbed several peaks in the Himalaya Mountains to try to determine how airborne particles such as dust and soot that settle on massive glaciers alter how snow and ice melt, which could affect climate change as well as [...]

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    Climbing Mount Everest: Risking Life and Limb for Science

    The author and Jake St. Pierre on the Himlung icefall. Steep slopes and warming snow make climbing slow and dangerous.

    Editor’s Note: This is the fourth post in a series by Ulyana Horodyskyj, a geologist who is trying to determine how airborne particles such as soot that settle on massive glaciers affect how fast the ice melts. In mid-April she and her team of scientists, volunteers and Sherpas were nearly at base camp on Mount [...]

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    Call of the Orangutan: Conservation Success Stories

    Two infants in front of the "baby house" in quarantine learn how to climb a tree.

    Having made it to Sumatra, the first location for my field research, I’ve endured another frustrating few weeks waiting for yet more permits to come through. However, this delay has given me a good opportunity to get some work done at the charming office the environmental group Yayasan Ekosistem Lestari (YEL) in Medan, and to [...]

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