Saturday, March 22, 2008

What exactly is it that I'm working on?

I have been away from my blog for another long time. I blame part of it on the flu and the rest on just being too busy. I thought I'd write a bit about what I've been doing for my thesis research project. It has nothing to do with this photo, but I don't have a good photo handy that's relevant and this little long-eared owl is just too cute. My master's thesis project is a study of the "foraging ecology of urban bats". That means I'm trying to figure out what kinds of bats live here in the city, and where they are most active foraging, and what correlations I can make if any to explain that foraging activity. I'm studying them by recording their feeding echolocation calls and uploading the calls to my computer for analysis. I'm working in partnership with San Francisco's Natural Areas program. I'll be putting my detector and recording equipment out in the various designated natural areas, setting it out in the evening and picking it up the next morning. Over the past year I've been working on developing and testing a waterproof casing to protect the digital equipment from fog and rain. Now I'm in the process of getting cages to protect it from marauding human animals prowling the parks at night. Once the equipment is secure, I will deploy it at least once per quarter in each of 18 parks over the course of the next year. I believe there is bat activity year-round, and that the species we find may be different in each season. Before I can start recording bat calls, I have to figure out exactly where in each park to put the detector. More on that process in my next blog entry.


Post a Comment

<< Home