Archive for the research Category

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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My first (book) chapter!

My first (book) chapter!

  As every graduate student knows, one big part of the work is to read LOTS of material related to your chosen subject, and then digest it so that you can reframe it to inform your own work.  In fact, publishing research and then citing relevant parts

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A river of life flowing overhead in the dark

A river of life flowing overhead in the dark

If you live in the central or southern United States right now, you’re witnessing perhaps the biggest cold front and related fall migration event of the season.  With snow up north and a steady stream of northerly winds during the night, everything that can’t survive freezing winters

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