Friday, January 9, 2015

Student post: Diona Drake - Friday, January 9

Diona Drake is a graduate student at the University of Guam's Marine Lab.

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This morning was an amazing break from doing our experiments/field work. Today we got the chance to go to the GovGuam Division of Aquatic and Wildlife Resources and view their captive bird breeding program of Micronesian Kingfishers and the Guam rail. Both of these bird species were decimated by the brown tree snake and were taken into the captive breeding program in the 1980’s. Suzanne Medina, the biologist that gave us a tour, took out a male koko and let him roam around our group. He was so cute and curious. He loved pecking and trying to mate with people’s sneakers. He also loved being scratched on the neck and pecking people’s fingers Haha. I believe his name was Sable. We got an in depth view of how they breed the birds and their history of releasing the birds into the wild. Currently, there is a population on Rota and on Cocos Island that appear to be surviving on their own. It was such an awesome opportunity to see these birds and I never thought I would get the chance to see them. I think they are looking for interns or volunteers and I am seriously considering seeing whether I can help out. These endangered native species need to be preserved.

The rest of today was spent in the classroom learning about the statistical program R and in our respective groups working on our projects. My group is working on the behavior of lizards to novel and local predators. The predators we are using are a snake (rubber) and a kingfisher. Most of today was spent working on our bird predator. We have been fortunate to have DAWR lend us taxidermied Micronesian kingfishers. I know that these two specimens are one of a kind and very rare. I am excited that tomorrow we will be finishing up our data collection and will be able to focus on making our presentation and writing our paper. It’s time to push through it!



Only one more week! (Time is going by so fast!)