New Event at the KU Natural History Museum

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The Science Life
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From small towns in Kansas to Chicago to New York, Lewis Lindsay Dyche thrilled audiences with his skill in natural history displays and later with lectures about his adventures. Many of the glass slides that he displayed in these "magic lantern" talks have not been seen by the public in more than 100 years and will be featured in an exhibition opening and major public event on Nov. 4 at the University of Kansas. For more information about these and other events, visit  http://naturalhistory.ku.edu/events

In the Field - In the City

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The Science Life

Summertime means summer fieldwork for many academic scientists, but some researchers skip the far-flung places in favor of urban habitats close to home.

Why Mosquitoes?

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Adventures Afield
Fieldnotes
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Why mosquitoes?  Of all the amazing and beautiful rain forest animals to study, why would anyone want to work with this lowly, annoying bug that drives us crazy while sitting on porches on summer evenings?  They spread disease, too.  Why would anyone want to mess with that?

Sampling Heliconias

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Adventures Afield
Fieldnotes
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My side project for this trip was to study arthropod diversity in two species of heliconia plants.  I worked on the project with Riley and Tom.  In both species we looked in leaf rolls and in inflorescences of the plant.  We unrolled the leaves and dissected the flower. It was interesting as with each opening it was exciting to see what kind of animals we would find.  We ended up seeing about 10 species repeatedly, but we had some surprises too.

Travel is Education

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Adventures Afield
Fieldnotes

By Bethany Christiansen

Gravity

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Adventures Afield
Fieldnotes
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We are all now back home, having arrived on Monday, bleary-eyed. It's been a long few days, full of travel, packing, unpacking, repacking, and airport-sitting.

We woke early to catch the boat from the CICRA field station to Laberinto, then a bus to the airport, followed by a flight back to Lima. We spent a day and a half in Lima as we pleased, and then we prepared the specimens for their flight back to the U.S.

 

Sampling the Tastes of Peru

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Adventures Afield
Fieldnotes
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Just prior to leaving for Peru, I was told of the exceptional cuisine that Lima had to offer.  Before, I learned about cuy (pronounced “coo-ee”) – guinea pig.  I imagined it as the staple dish that would be on the menu of every high-end Peruvian restaurant.   It’s apparently not that meal and is, in fact, an Andean animal and is served in restaurants nearer the mountains.  Instead, I’ve found that there are a lot of other amazing tastes this country has to offer.

Like Moths around a Flame

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Adventures Afield
Fieldnotes
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The Canopy Malaise Trap is like a rigid tent that gets raised 20-30 meters up in
The Terrestrial Malaise trap sits on the ground
Ultraviolet Light Trap - this is sheet draped over a rope with an ultraviolet li

Several days ago I came across two primate specialists in the forest. One was wearing a loudspeaker on her head that was emitting monkey calls (calls of the saddle-backed tamarin, I believe). This got me to thinking about the ways we stretch to get our data, to study animal and plant behavior, to collect specimens, and to document the comings and goings of species. It's hard work that demands a staggering array of equipment from a butterfly net to a portable mass spectrometer. It also requires smart, fit, capable, adaptable people with highly specialized training and lots of imagination.

Fortune

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Adventures Afield
Fieldnotes

My good fortune finally ran out. Up until Sunday evening I had experienced very little turbulence on this trip: the airplane flights were uneventful, in Lima I ate multiple things I probably shouldn’t have, they but didn’t cause any issues, I experienced maybe one mosquito bite, and I hadn’t suffered any physical injuries. Then Sunday night came, and I caught up on my suffering.

Tree Form

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Adventures Afield
Fieldnotes
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Delamotte Lithograph

The last few days have been the most interesting. Daily walks have familiarized us to the rain forest, and we now know where to look for certain types of bugs, birds, reptiles, etc. All of us have a far better understanding of where certain insects might live within a rain forest, and we can really look for what we want. I’ve been looking for insects. A caterpillar, an ant infected with corticepts, a weevil, leafcutter ants, army ants, scarab beetles, and butterflies have all spent time at the business end of my camera.

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