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The Batscan!

The Batscan!

The Texas night sky is full of life. On almost any night of the year, there are insects from ground level up to over a mile high. And where there are insects, you’ll find bats trying to catch them. For ecologists, however, this is a very challenging

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Testing traditional assumptions about regional migration in bats

Testing traditional assumptions about regional migration in bats

  In earlier posts I shared behind-the-scenes stories and background about my postdoc project. Now here are the results. The majority of migratory bats have movements that cover much shorter distances than most migratory birds, and are commonly referred to as “regional” migrants. A few bat species

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Igniting the future of insect migration research

Igniting the future of insect migration research

Early career researchers are sometimes encouraged to organize a symposium. It’s a great way to meet important people in your field, and potentially also to find a job. When I saw a notice last year about an upcoming meeting, my first reaction was that there probably wouldn’t

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Bats eat migratory moths! Lots of them!

Bats eat migratory moths! Lots of them!

  Insect migration is one of those things that gets more amazing the more you know about it. It happens pretty much everywhere, but especially way up in the air. There’s a mind-bogglingly high number of insects traveling up there when winds are favorable, representing a huge

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Turning grant money into data

Turning grant money into data

Winning research grants is exciting, but then the real world challenges appear. Putting up 40 telemetry stations across four states is an ambitious project! First we had to find good locations, which meant spending lots of time poring over Google Earth and lists of state parks and

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Open source science

Open source science

The world of makers and DIY tech has reached the world of ecology. I’m working on a project deploying scientific instruments that I built myself using inexpensive, easily orderable components, to answer important questions about endangered animals. And I hope it’s just the beginning. If you’re not

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Stumbling upon science

Stumbling upon science

Have you ever been out for a hike and come across some mysterious equipment, and wondered what it was doing? Many people across the Midwestern US are having just that experience when they come upon our research stations. Because they see my name and contact information, some

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The answer is: cold fronts.

The answer is: cold fronts.

The core of my dissertation research was to understand the mechanisms driving fall migration in both moths that are agricultural pests and in the insectivorous bats that eat them. Now you can read the primary results in this paper from the Journal of Animal Ecology. While I

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So you think you want to get a PhD

So you think you want to get a PhD

It’s been over a year since I successfully defended my dissertation and received my PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Tennessee. I want to share some of my thoughts about the process, the costs, and the rewards. One obvious conclusion is that it

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On acquiring a 6th sense: life as an ecologist

On acquiring a 6th sense: life as an ecologist

I’ve been thinking lately about how much richer my life is as an ecologist.  It feels as though I am walking through the world with a new sensory awareness.  It’s easier to say what it is not like: it’s not that I see truth or have complete

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