What Is Normal?

Luckily for you, today is not about delving into statistics and testing for normality in a data set. I’ve been unable to write a blog over the last week, because I found out about some happy news over the last few days that has kept me busy. I was accepted into the Society for Conservation Biology (SCBO) 4th Oceania Congress in Brisbane, Australia which will take place in July. Later that same day I found out about SCBO, I found out I was also accepted into the Mid-Atlantic Ecological Society of America (ESA) conference that will take place in April in Kutztown, PA. So, it’s been a busy week for me as I suddenly have to really kick it into gear to prep for these conferences. While I will definitely be able to go to the Mid-Atlantic ESA conference, the SCBO congress will be a different story. SCBO is $2,000 plane ticket plus associated travel costs. So, for a shameless plug, today I am going to talk a little bit about my research and include a link to my GoFundMe for the Brisbane conference. Maybe you will feel inclined to support an early-career female scientist? Any funding that I receive that does not directly cover the expenses of going to Australia for SCBO, will be donated to the Willistown Conservation Trust (WCT). WCT is the organization I am working with on my Masters capstone (thesis) work, and I am a volunteer bird bander for the Rushton Banding Station. WCT does amazing work, and I highly recommend checking out their website.

This equipment is a device for passively collecting data on the noises that bats produce during the night when they feed. Photo credit: Sarah Bouboulis
This equipment is a device for passively collecting data on the noises that bats produce during the night when they feed. Photo credit: S. B.

GoFundMe: Brisbane 2016

UPenn Bioblitz 2015

Since I am still in the middle of conducting research for my capstone (a.k.a. thesis) for my Masters degree, I’m not sure how much I can reveal about it. That being said, I will share what I’ve already told everyone else who will listen. I am conducting bioblitzes on a small-scale, organic farm located on Rushton Woods Preserve (RWP) in Chester County, Pennsylvania. The first bioblitz was conducted in June 2015, and two more will be conducted this year, one in June and one in September. Well, you may be wondering what a bioblitz is at this point, and I’m glad you asked! A bioblitz is a twenty-four hour intensive survey of the flora and fauna of a site that provides a snapshot of its biodiversity and can provide a baseline for future comparison. For the bioblitzes, the following taxa were surveyed: aquatic invertebrates, insects, birds, mammals (including bats), reptiles, amphibians, plants, and fungi. Unfortunately, I cannot reveal much more about the research due to its “in progress” status, but I am excited to continue on with it and can’t wait to see what this year’s surveys find.

Bioblitz volunteers check out the insect species attracted by the mercury lamp. Photo credit: Heather Kostick

If you know someone who would be interested in volunteering for any of the bioblitzes, please have them email upennbioblitz@gmail.com.


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