Saturday, July 9, 2011

Let the bone data collection commence!

We’ve spent the first several days on the conservancy getting our new digital data collection strategy worked out. Despite numerous emails among Fire, Nick and I, we haven’t had a chance to 1) sit down and *talk* about what we’re doing! 2) actually do some practice transect so we can figure out exactly what data we want to record, and the most efficient and effective way of recording it. While this can feel frustrating – chomping at the bit to do research but not being quite ready to get to the field – we’d rather have this all worked out beforehand. So much of the last few days were spent like this:

But finally, today, we did our first bone transect!  We still had some technological glitches, but it was generally successful. Fire got well acquainted with her handheld GPS,

and Fire and Nick tried to work out some of the kinks in her iPaq-bluetooth GPS system.

There are still some glitches, but we were able to get some good work done. Here are some photos that Nick took of Fire and I on the transect.

You know I'm concentrating when my tongue sticks out of the corner of my mouth.

Yikes - my belly is hanging out! :)

This is us looking for bones, with our armed guard in front. As there are dangerous animals like elephant, buffalo, rhino, and lions (among others) where we work, armed guards are a must.

Me, with some gazelle (or are they impala?) in the background!

I like this photo that Fire took - just me, my data collector, and some zebra bones.

Fire and I walking back to the car at the end of our transect-ing just before ~6pm. You'll notice our long sleeves; unlike back home, which is hot and humid at this time of year, the highlands of Kenya can be toasty during the day but are actually quite chilly at night! We wear long sleeves and fleeces in the mornings and evenings, and sleep under cozy duvets and blankets. 

In my next few posts I'll back up a little bit to show you the research center where we're staying, and explain what exactly we're doing here!