Tuesday, November 27, 2018

New Publication in Micronesica!

Check out this new publication in Micronesica! During the 2017 field season, we caught 3 brown treesnakes (BTS) that had consumed our fledgling Såli. When we analyzed the physical traits of these snakes, we found that they were all large individuals in very good body condition, suggesting that young Såli (and birds in general) may be a particularly rich meal for snakes that are used to eating smaller meals of geckos and skinks. In 2018, we caught 12 more BTS and saw the exact same pattern. In addition, we found that snakes that had recently eaten fledglings hunkered down in hollow trees for 4-6 days at a time, presumably to digest their food. These results echo those from a recent study by Siers et al. (2018), and provide important additional information about snake behavior and activity cycles – snakes that are full after a large meal are less detectable and harder to catch. This research (Wagner et al. 2018) was a collaborative effort between our entire 2017 field crew and is now available here: (http://micronesica.org/sites/default/files/wagneretal2018.pdf)!


Siers, S. R., A. A. Yackel Adams, & R. N. Reed (2018). Behavioral differences following ingestion of large meals and consequences for management of a harmful invasive snake: A field experiment. Ecology and Evolution 8: 10075-10093.

Wagner, C., C. Tappe, M. Kastner, O. Jaramillo, N. Van Ee, J. Savidge, & H.S. Pollock (2018). First recorded predation of fledgling Micronesian starlings (Aplonis opaca) by brown treesnakes (Boiga irregularis) on Guam. Micronesica 6: 1-7.  

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Bird Skull Mystery

While taking measurements at roost sites recently, there was a morbid find under a Calophyllum in an urban area on Andersen Airforce Base. It is generally a popular roost site for starlings, sparrows, and doves, but the birds above in the canopy just make the scene below them at the base of the tree seem more chilling. What looked like a graveyard for nearly 50 birds could have been a cache made by some predator lurking around base of the tree. Let us know what you think could have caused this mass grave.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Post-typhoon Mangkhut: Rota Update

Rota was hit directly by Typhoon Mangkhut on Monday, Sept. 10th. EBL Field Biologist Erin Fitz was on Rota this week and said that there were "many huge trees broken and uprooted. The canopy of much of the forest is now very open and there are lots of dead leaves everywhere." Compared to Guam, the magnitude of damage on Rota was more severe Luckily field sites are still intact and we will be able to look at post-storm forest impacts. Below are photos of Rota's Alaguan Bay pre- and post-typhoon.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Post-typhoon Mangkhut: Update from the Islands

Post from ISU graduate student, Ann Marie Gawel: Typhoon Mangkhut blew through the Mariana Islands the night of Monday, Sept 10. While the island of Rota felt the brunt of it, Guam also experienced typhoon-force winds. I went out post-storm with EBL intern Erin Fitz (pictured in album under her mosquito net) to check on two of our Guam field sites. I was interested in seeing if the storm had knocked down many fruits, thereby impacting future fruit-picking efforts for my pig-feeding trials @SERDPESTCP #SERDP . The good news was that many trees were still fruiting, and we observed multiple species with fruits on the trees, both ripe and unripe throughout the forest. (big sigh of relief) Although there were some fruits, fallen branches, and many fallen leaves scattered about the forest floor, the forest looked intact, and we only saw a few fallen trees in and around our sites.

We also checked on eight different chicken-wire fences used in our canopy gap experiments and did a quick damage assessment of our long-term forest grids @NSF_Bio #NSFfunded. Two of the fences were damaged from fallen papaya trees, which we quickly mended to prevent any infiltration from wild ungulates (deer and pigs), and so we could continue to monitor seedlings in those plots. We saw a number of interesting critters in the forest including a Philippine deer, a singing sali (only heard), lizards, some large cane toads, a land crab with an interesting "shell", and many many mosquitoes.

Stay tuned for news from Rota, where the storm seemed to have a much bigger impact.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

The Sali Field Crew

We have a group of five individuals working with Sali, the Micronesian Starling, on Guam! Follow the EBL Facebook page to learn more (https://www.facebook.com/ebl.project/)!
Henry Pollock, Postdoctoral Researcher

Martin Kastner, Field Crew Leader

Ovidio Jaramillo, Field Technician

Megan Pendred, Field Technician

Nikki Suckow, Field Technician

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Welcome Two New Interns to the EBL Crew!

The EBL crew is excited to introduce our two new interns!
1) Natalie Myers:
She just graduated from Occidental College with a BA in Biology with a concentration on Environmental Science. She is originally from near Seattle, Washington and in her free time she likes to draw, hike and read. She loves animals, and in the past has studied a variety of things, but hopes to study evolutionary biology and herpetology in the future! She is excited to get to explore Guam and the Mariana Islands, and to learn more about plant communities.

2) Erin Fitz:
She recently graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in Natural Resource Conservation. She is interested in landscape ecology and understanding the role humans play within the ecosystem. She is looking forward to gaining a greater understanding of tropical ecology on the islands. Erin continuously seeks new ways to explore the world around her- namely through travel, hiking, rock climbing, drawing, and painting.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Team Flame Trees: Tricia Magallano

Delayed post: 28 May 2018

The first week of the Tropical Forest Island Ecology Course has passed. Pictured above are the course participants from the Northern Marianas College, Saipan arriving to OceanView Hotel in Tumon, Guam. 

Team Vines: Atanacio Naputi

My name is Atanacio Naputi and my amazing and hardworking team Bruno, Marie, and Eugene are doing a project on vine abundance and diversity. 

These are pictures of us out in the field collecting data.

Team Vines: Bruno Cases

My name is Bruno from Guam. We identified vines and trees found within the transect of 50 ft long with 6 ft on each side.

Here, my groupmates are trying to identify a tree that is a bit unfamiliar to us found in the transect.  Surprisingly, they identified it so fast. As a result, we are all happy! 

Team Vines: Marie Auyong

Delayed post: 25 May 2018

Håfa adai! My name is Marie and my group is interested in vines in karst forests in Saipan and Guam. For our research, we’re collecting data about vine species and their abundance. We are also looking at how vines cover trees in the forests and how coverage might affect overall tree health.

Today is the second day we’ve visited our first sample site, Marpi. We also visited our second sample site, Laderan Tanke. I really appreciate the sharp observational skills of my teammates Bruno, Eugene, and Nacio, because they found this:

As someone from Guam, a (mostly) birdless island, it was a pleasant surprise.

Do you know what kind of bird builds this nest? I’d love to be able to share with students on Guam! We have four public elementary schools that have a bird as their mascot.