Times when I regret not having my camera

One of the disadvantages of doing my field work by bicycle is that there’s a limit to how much equipment I can carry. With all of my sampling equipment, my pack is heavy enough and full enough that I usually can’t bring my camera. But sometimes I see cool things in the field and then […]

Random thoughts and photos during field work

I keep having this dream lately where I’m under water and I swim up to the surface to get air. When I get above the surface, there’s a rocky outcropping nearby and there are big, choppy waves. Every single time, I think “this is the ocean, it should taste salty, but it tastes fresh…I must […]

Often I Am Permitted to Return to a Meadow, by Robert Duncan

Currently up to my armpits in mud (ah field work in freezing spring rains), and desperately trying to be clean enough to interact with normal humans, so here’s a poem for now. Often I Am Permitted to Return to a Meadow as if it were a scene made-up by the mind, that is not mine, […]

You know you’re a field biologist when…

Yesterday, I was doing pollinator observations on my plants in the field. There was zero percent chance of rain in the forecast and it was supposed to be sunny all day (perfect pollinator weather), but this is Ireland, so of course it rained a few times. As I can’t observe pollinators when it’s raining, I […]


You’re such a derbid. That’s not actually an insult, but it so sounds like it could be, right? I love it. A grad student in the last lab I worked in introduced me to this cool family of insects, the Derbidae, and I think the name is hilarious (because I’m six years old, apparently). That […]

Watering can calluses

I just lost a full replicate in my field experiment. That’s what we field biologists like to call “a bad day.” Of course, I’ve lost replicates before, and it’s always hard, but this loss seems particularly pointless. You see, all of my field sites had to be in urban areas for this experiment, which meant […]