A major challenge to fieldwork
Soooo....... who is responsible for grabbing the little "nutrient" sticks out of the moss (see the first image)? We had the tops camouflaged so well (using bits of a camo shirt). Apparently, not camouflaged enough!
You may have guessed the culprit: it's a bird. Not a penguin though, but a skua. Skuas are very smart. I actually think they are fantastic! They are very curious. But they keep pulling out a few select nutrient sticks that we have normally in the ground to determine soil fertility.
We usually encounter a skua when we arrive at our site or one arrives soon after we do. The skua then observes us while we take our moss measurements. Then, of course, as soon as we leave, they likely go right to the nutrient sticks that we so diligently put back.
Oh Skuas. Please behave this time.
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Growing up watching nature documentaries, I find myself now immersed in nature's splendor. As an ecologist I study how ecosystems function. Here I share with you my love of doing research in Antarctica - a place of sheer beauty