I had an incredible day out on Monterey Bay where I saw my dissertation come to life! I recently finished my thesis at UCSC with Dan Costa and my work focused on top predator hotspots for conservation along the West Coast.
Sara Maxwell in the Fernandina Island, Galapagos Islands, Equador--The L/P Guadalupe River finally arrived at Isla Fernandina the morning of Oct 1 after a three day, two night trip. As we weaved through the Canal Bolívar that separates Isla Fernandina and Isla Isabela, we gaped at the massive volcanos that top each of the islands. La Cumbre (roughly translated to "The Peak") is the one and only volcano on Fernandina, but it is HUGE - the third largest in the Galapagos at 4,800 ft (1463 m).
Sara Maxwell in the Galapagos Islands, Equador--I've arrived back to Puerto Ayora from Isla Fernandina and it was a true adventure! I'll spend the next few blogs getting you caught up on our adventures, starting with our trip to Fernandina....
Now that you're up to date on the project, I'll tell you a little about the Galapagos and what we've been up to over the last week in preparation for our departure for Fernandina...
Sara Maxwell and Jana Jeglinski at Fernandina, Galapagos Islands--Greetings from Galapagos! I am here with Jana Jeglinski and her team to tag Galapagos fur seals and Galapagos sea lions on Fernandina and Floreana Islands. Right now, I will give you a bit of background about the project and tomorrow I will follow up with our activities here in Puerto Ayora where we are preparing to head in the field. Hasta manana!
Ontogeny of foraging and inter-specific competition
Sara Maxwell at UCSC Long Marine Lab, CA -- Back to San Nicolas Island where Melinda Fowler and her crew are still working hard to catch the sea lions that were satellite tagged last November. In the last blog, I told you how to find your sea lion.
So once you've found the sea lion you are looking for, how do you actually catch it?
Sara Maxwell at UC Santa Cruz Long Marine Lab, CA--I've just arrived back from a week as part of the first field crew on San Nicolas Island where we were attempting to recapture sea lions satellite tagged back in November. So how do you catch a sea lion? Not unlike how you tag an elephant seal - very carefully!
After a 4 week delay in Gabon, I have made it back to California. The turtles arrived late this year - 2 months late - presumably due to the delay in the start of the rainy season this year in West Africa. It was a rough trip all around but truly an adventure on all fronts and things worked out fantastically in the end! I will try to post some pictures and blogs over the coming weeks, but for now, here are some photos and a pseudo-summary of my trip in numbers...
In general, the days tend to be slow and quiet and mostly spent trying to keep cool. I have a favorite spot on the beach under a nice tree where I like to nap, read, write in my journal or occasionally watch TV shows and movies on my ipod, while always on the lookout for birds, lizards and other interesting wildlife. Occasionally, the Ecoguards and I will go for hikes to nearby savannahs in hopes of seeing elephants, buffalos or other wildlife. Many of the Ecoguards are former hunters and animal trackers so they excellent at following the subtle signals animals leave behind.
The field camp I am stationed at in Mayumba National Park is called Nyafessa, which means 'Mermaid' in one of the local Gabonese languages, and it is magical in every sense of the word. Nyafessa is one of the more primitive of the field camps in the park, as a permanent field camp is still under construction, so we are without running water or electricity, but it is still incredibly comfortable. There is a nearby stream where we are able to gather drinking water and shower near where it empties into the ocean.