Posted by: Doc Bruce | October 18, 2006

It’s Not Always a Photo Op Day

Field biology is often full of great photo moments. On other days, it is a lot of hard, uncomfortable work. Today was one of those ‘work’ days. We spent the better part of the day installing drift fences on the Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge. Drift fences are a sampling device used to sample terrestrial vertebrates. The one we installed today is a series of sediment fences that have conical traps at the terminal ends. The idea is that small animals encounter the ‘wall’ and turn to travel parallel to it until they walk or crawl into the trap at the end. The traps are monitored two times a day to see what has been caught; it is identified and then released unharmed. Drift fence sampling is a way to accurately describe and monitor small vertebrate populations in terrestrial environments. We were creating these sampling devices to monitor populations of Indigo Snakes, and endangered species on Sanibel Island. So, today it was a lot of sweat, blisters, thorns and poison ivy…just another day at the office. The best job in the world.


  1. How much do I love reading that your transition from the ivory towers of New York City have not been all coconut suntan lotion and arthropods. Isn’t it funny how at some point, “work” actually starts to feel like work? You two are lucky however, to be doing what you love so passionately and completely. It’s great to read what you’re up to, and how the school is growing so rapidly.–Sallyp.s. I will admit… I had to look up the word “arthropod” in order to work it in there. But doesn’t it make me sound sorta smart?

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