Updates from the Field

Updates from the Field: Tombo Jan-Feb 2024

We continued our Punta Tombo field season this winter with graduate student Erik Johansson, former undergrad lab member Chloe Rabinowitz, and program coordinator Kalyna Durbak staying on site from January 12 through February 21. Our goal for this trip was to attach GTA* and GPS tags on adult penguins who were actively feeding chicks in order to log their foraging trips. Since the tags did not actively transmit data, they had to be retrieved after about two weeks of use. The tags were deployed 41 times throughout the field work trip; 31 GTA deployments and 10 GPS deployments. Center researchers […]

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Field updates: Argentina, September 2023

Written by Dr. Dee Boersma The ongoing pinniped (seals and walruses) die-off on Peninsula Valdés is catastrophic. Our contacts in Argentina–two local veterinarians (Marci Uhart and Ralph Vanstreels), and Claudia Campagna of WCS–tell us that hundreds and potentially thousands of sea lions and elephant seals have died. Avian flu (more widely known as bird flu) has devastated seabird populations throughout the world, but this is the first time it has reached Chile and Argentina. Over a million chickens were killed just in Peru to try and stop its spread. A few sea lions and one elephant seal tested positive for

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Field updates: Botswana, summer 2023

Written by Leigh West African wild dogs are very social animals, living in groups called packs. Wild dog packs have a dominant male and female, and it is this dominant pair that breeds each year to produce litters of pups. Packs of wild dogs are very cooperative, hunting and raising their young together. Two of the wild dogs that the Abrahms Lab collared this summer, Fossey and Cloud, belong to newly formed packs with a very interesting backstory. The dominant male of Marula pack, Sepupa, was killed last summer. This led the pack’s dominant female to leave her home range,

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Updates from the field: Readying the 2023 season

After Assistant Professor of Biology and Boersma Endowed Chair Dr. Briana Abrahms and her team deployed GPS-audio wildlife tracking collars on African wild dogs and lions during the summer of 2022, Dr. Abrahms and Dr. Kasim Rafiq, a postdoc in the Abrahms Lab, have been working with industry collaborators to build AI models that detect behaviors (such as hunting) and hunger levels from the collar data. In the coming months, Kasim will travel to the Okavango Delta to work with our collaborators at Botswana Predator Conservation to deploy additional African wild dog and lion collars and collect the behavioral data – by

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Field updates: Argentina, April 2023

Photo credit: Eric Wagner Thanks to the generous support of Zoo Augsburg in Germany, Dr. Ginger Rebstock and Dr. Eric Wagner were able to return to Punta Tombo for a couple of weeks in April. There, they put twenty satellite tags on penguins—ten females and ten males—that were about to start their post-breeding migration. From last year’s tagging effort, we know that females hug the coast more than males as they swim north, and pairs do not migrate together. Now we are trying to get a better sense of whether females and males use the same routes consistently from one

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Field Updates: Argentina, Winter 2023

In January and February of 2023 Dr. Dee Boersma, along with PhD students Katie Holt (Boersma Lab) and Erik Johansson (Abrahms Lab), spent six weeks in Punta Tombo to set up the remote scales that weigh penguins on their way in and out of the breeding area, and followed 19 penguins using GPS tags. The three of them were also able to complete the annual colony-wide surveys at Punta Tombo and nearby Cabo Dos Bahias.

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