Thursday, January 17, 2013

Dry season in Gede!

Jake and Simon collecting leaf litter data in restored forest
Back in Gede (Coast Province, Kenya) doing fieldwork in the dry season...I'm here for the next three weeks sampling for arthropod diversity in the Gede Ruins National Monument - a continuation of work started back in May/June of last year, this is a collaborative effort with local ornithologists from the Mwamba Field Station and Bird Observatory and the National Museums of Kenya to assess the recovery of a plot of land (formerly farmland) that was planted with indigenous trees over twenty years ago. Working with me is Jake Asplund, a recent UWT grad (headed to graduate school in the fall) and Simon Mahaga, a student at Moi University in Nairobi. We're conducting fieldowrk by day and analyzing data from our last expedition in the evenings - a comparison of the diversity in the rainy and dry seasons will help us better understand the annual dynamics of arthropods and birds in these coastal forests as well as document the progress of this restoration project. Because forests represent critical wildlife habitat and supply important supplemental resources for many of the Giriama inhabitats of the 50+ villages in the Watamu area, we're keen to understand how quickly and to what extent the restored areas return to normal ecosystem functioning. We'll be spending the next several weeks setting up traps and rough sorting insects here at Mwamba before heading back to Nairobi and the U.S. - more updates to follow!
Syke's monkeys desperate for a drink at Mwamba in the hot dry season!
Sunrise at Mwamba

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