The week in review should be relatively short here, as we basically just worked non-stop for most of it. We did 48 hour tracking of some tree frogs we collected from one of the forests near our house. This involved fitting each of the frogs with a small diode and antenna that reverberates a radio signal emitted by a handheld device (RECCO- used for finding people in avalanches) that beeps when the signal bounces back, effectively telling the operator the direction of the frog. Ideally we were panning on collecting movement stats on 48 hours in the life of a tree frog, like a more interesting version of the Real World on MTV. Unfortunately we had a few setbacks that devastated the efficacy of our little experiment. Notably, the radio collars we put on the original group of frogs may have been too cumbersome to observe natural movement. The first frog we pulled back out of a snakes stomach was a good indicator, but the second time really substantiated the claim. We would have let the snakes have their meals because our frogs were already deceased (RIP), but we thought the transmitters would probably kill them as well. You see, we attached the transmitters to the frogs initially by wrapping a strip of gauze with the transmitter imbedded around the frog and stitched the ends together. The idea was that the gauze ends would eventually fray and the belt would fall off after a while if we were to lose contact wight he frog. The gauze had a tendency to slip around, though, and left tails that would either hinder the frogs' natural mechanics, or would get caught on twigs, completely destroying their ability to move. Either way, we were effectively condemning the frogs. By the end of the first 48, we had one survivor of the original 6 frogs we released (well actually we just misplaced two of them). Well we called of the search and decided to start over with a few tweaks to how we attached the radio bands. At this point we hadn't slept for any significant amount of time in the past few days, but we marched on. We figured out how to attach the diodes with much less fabric and fitted a new batch of frogs we caught in the forest. After releasing them into the forest we realized a new problem; the frogs climbed straight up the trees and the RECCO was unable to pick up a signal from the canopies. One frog managed to stay grounded and we were able to track it hourly for the duration of the study. At the end we didn't have much usable data; 48 hours for one frog from each attempt, and a thorough sense of exhaustion. The worst part though is trying to get back on a normal sleeping schedule after 4 straight days of tracking. In the past week I have witnessed the sunrise 5 times, and not because I woke up early. Anyway, I'm not really sure what the rest of the week has in store for research, but this weekend we are heading south to the ecology institute, so that should be pretty exciting.
There isn't much to talk about as far as cultural exploration for the week because the workload didn't provide any opportunity to go anywhere and we have been slowly recovering. The trip to the Eco-Institute should be an interesting adventure and I'll be sure to take my camera to make up for the lack of photos this week.