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As you might recall, I started my fieldwork in March. Is it a coincidence that I haven't posted until now, when I have finished? I'm not entirely sure, but I am certain that I am not willing to perform the replicates necessary to properly test such a hypothesis.
In March, I completed fieldwork in New South Wales. My far-north Qld sites were completed by July, and I just wrapped up my work near Brisbane at the beginning of this month. Phew!
Fieldwork for me meant splitting my time between stunning island locations and gorgeous pockets of wilderness on the mainland. I met local populations of green and golden bell frogs (GGBF), wedge-tailed shearwaters, seals, dolphins, and stick insects (I spent a little time with the leeches, ticks, and wasps, too). I also stared at approximately 8750 leaves two times for approximately 1-2 minutes each. When I closed my eyes at night, leaf outlines would dance before my eyelids like sugar-plum fairies. I actually managed to get marooned on an island for three days, since the boat coming out to get me couldn't make it in the large seas. Lucky I brought extra pasta that time!
I met some extraordinary people as well- a group of herpetologists conducting frog surveys on the largest remnant population of GGBFs, some outstandingly nice employees of the NSW Parks & Wildlife Service, bird people (including a UNSW alumnus), plant people, boat drivers, and even some intrigued members of the public. I never suspected that spending so much time solo on isolated islands or out in the bush would be a good way to rub elbows with other ecologists, but there you go. I also became a master of summing up my PhD in 45 seconds.
Now that I'm back, I've started the mountain of sample preparation, laboratory analyses, and statistical analyses that accompany all that glorious - though thoroughly exhausting and stressful - work in the field. So far I've only crashed my computer a couple of times, so I'd say it's going quite well. I have also *nearly* finished preparation of two manuscripts, which should be shaped up for submission to journals very early in 2015. My chemical analyses are due to start in February. After that it's bug ID until I see bugs in my sleep- although I'm hoping the ethanol helps insect taxonomy sink in.
So yes, things are swimming along nicely, largely in part to all the fine folks who volunteered some combination of their time, resources, energy, patience, exerptise, common sense, or shoulders so freely to me. For that, I THANK YOU!
Until next time!