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Don't worry, they won't sting you. They know we're scientists.
My favorite video of the week shows the team here in Costa Rica successfully transferring a bee caught in the field to a specimen jar. It's rather self explanatory so enjoy the clip. Interestingly enough, you can actually take part in one of these adventures . As a corporate expeidtion from a Big Four firm we're doing double duty, handling both the science and a special project to assist the local coffee co-operative. You won't perform the bonus business project which my team is doing, but private individuals can help with the science itself. You need to enjoy the outdoors, and be comfortable with something a little more rustic than a regular tropical vacation. Read the project description on their site to learn more about the adventure. Aside from enjoying the work, you get to essentially live in a community for a week rather than just hover over it like a typical tourist. Two nights left in the mission. It's been great fun so far - we've even toured two coffee mills...
This isn't working right, let's try again tomorrow
Doing fieldwork in the name of science sometimes often has things in common with audits - tight deadlines are one of them. It's good to have a contingency plan if things don't work out at first. During our visit to plant bee traps we also inspected a set of marked coffee plants to see how their flowering action was progressing. Unfortunatley one of the plants wasn't ready for our visit as the flowers weren't out. Without flowers, there's not much that can be done, so we made a note to come back the next day to perform our observations. Our follow-up visit was more successful - I only have still photos from that element of the adventure, but "hand pollination" took place. Hot. If you build in time for "contingencies" - unplanned emergencies, your work, either in pure research, or in AuditLand, will be significantly less stressful! Let me know if you can hear the audio in these clips. I'm finding that the uploaded videos are awfully quiet - it's...
Posted: Apr 28 2010, 08:52 PM by Krupo | with no comments
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Suits and ties make my clients suspicious
Dressing up beyond business casual just makes me look silly , er, too professional. Although I work alongside bank auditors in the office - who often run around in suit and tie to match their client's idea of normal business attire - I'm an IT auditor, so it's golf or dress shirt and nice pants if I want to fit in at my client's offices. The last time I wore a suit to my client's office, they asked me if I was going to a job interview to quit for a competitor. No, it was a formal "power breakfast" I happened to be invited to. As you can tell by my recent videos , the suits are nowhere to be seen. Helping with scientific research in the coffee plantations of Costa Rica, the only reason to have a formal dress suit in your bags is because you flew directly here from a big fancy formal client meeting. Our field professor even told us that you have much more 'street cred' if your clothes are neatly stained by the fieldwork you've been conducting. Speaking...
Posted: Apr 27 2010, 09:39 PM by Krupo | with no comments
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Setting the trap
In my previous post I showed how we took a soil sample from the field and inserted a PVC pipe to start setting our bee trap. I paused that recording as I had to retrieve the most component of our trap: the yellow bowl filled with a bit of soapy water, which is designed to attract and capture bees. This clip shows how it's done. I didn't record a video of the retrieval operation we performed today, as we split up and the other team had the video camera, but I managed to take some stills which you'll soon see, along with an explanation of the challenges we faced. Until then, let's just say it's a good thing we didn't put too much soapy water in our traps.
"Now you look like real field biologists"
Our professor in the field, Dr. Banks, had kind words for us as we started our week of research in the TarrazĂș region of Costa Rica. Armed with a couple of augers, PVC pipes, yellow "party" bowls, bottles of soapy water, insect catching nets, measuring tape, jars, more bags and, of course, several clipboards, we set off into the fields. We were lucky to enjoy a 'soft' introduction to fieldwork: the farm where work started is a relatively easy site for inspecting bee activity and the flowering of coffee plants because it's isolated from patches of rainforest. At sites adjacent to rainforests we'll be conducting more tests - here, on the other hand, we only had to dig for half as many soil samples. This didn't mean the work was a cakewalk - catching bees is not easy for accounting firm staff, and the banana trees' leaves made patches of ground wickedly slippery - tomorrow's sure to be more intense. We completed the adventure without any incidents, even...