Thursday, May 31, 2018

First two days: Introduction to Mariana Islands and selecting projects

Our off-island participants arrived on Saipan Monday, May 21st, and got settled into their hotel. We met up on Tuesday morning at Northern Marianas College, and Haldre gave an introduction to the Mariana Islands. After lunch, we headed to the limestone karst forest at Forbidden Island Conservation Area to practice the bread and butter skill of every field ecologist: counting things along a transect or in a plot.

Instructor, Dr. Ross Miller from University of Guam, with participants, Eugene Eperiam and Roseo Marquez.

Participants began to brainstorm research questions while in the jungle, inspired by their previous experience, observations, and course lectures. 

The next day, several researchers in the Marianas posed some questions they thought would be interesting to research. After all of this brainstorming, participants and instructors were given slips of papers to write their questions down. We grouped the questions by topic (see white board photo below), then participants chose their top three topics of interest. The instructors then selected groups, and we ended up with 4 groups: the bird-insect-flame tree group, the snail group, the vine group, and the acacia group.

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