What better place to network with and get to know fellow field biologists than in the field itself? As important as conferences and professional meetings are for networking, it’s my experience that getting right out into the field with someone is exceedingly valuable. Considerable knowledge is shared and relationships built by trudging through the bush into the late hours of the night.
I had the pleasure of meeting behavioural ecologist Darryl Gwynne and his wife Sarah on a recent field trip to Waitomo. Darryl is a faculty member at the University of Toronto working on sexual selection, specifically mating behaviours in systems such as weta, crickets, and dance flies. He has a particular interest in nuptial gifts (typically defined as nutritious resources produced or gathered by males and given to females) and other reproductive investment.
Darryl and Sarah were in search of a species of ground weta and met up with me in Waitomo to see if my field sites for harvestmen could be suitable sites for their species as well. It was a bit late in the season for the ground weta, but hopefully they’ve identified some promising sites for next year’s trip. I was also sure to take them to the Mangapohue Natural Bridge after dark to view the phenomenal glowworm display. It’s a must-do for anyone visiting the area.
Though the ever-unpredictable harvestmen season seemed to be waning, I was able to gather a bit of data adding to the projects I was working on throughout January and February. This time, I also lugged my macro setup with me into the bush to photograph some of the wonderful and diverse arthropods we encountered. The photos throughout this post were taken during this early April trip. Click on each photo for more information.