Two weeks till my jungle adventure starts again!!!!……

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I cannot believe how quickly the last 6 months have gone! I will be heading back to Peru in just two weeks and I cannot wait to get back into my data collection. I have had a very eventful few months back home which I have thoroughly enjoyed, however am seriously getting itchy feet and am very happy to be heading back to the jungle! In the time that I have been at home I have had every intention of updating my blog however this may have fallen by the wayside with all the other work I have been doing. Once I am back in Peru I will continue updating each time I am back in Iquitos and will keep the photos flowing.

My first few months back home flew by in a blur of catching up with family, friends and enjoying some home comforts while getting used to the cold of the UK. Initially when I came back I started working on data summaries, pulling together species lists and basic analysis. This has helped me to gain a good understanding of what I can do with all this information and has enabled me to draft a plan of the different chapters for my final thesis!

I have spent much of my time back in the UK meeting with my supervisor, the DICE undergraduate students and even some potential collaborators. I attended a conference at the Natural History Museum where I gave a poster presentation, and was able to catch up with some good friends who I worked with in Peru. One aim throughout all of my research is to keep people up to date with my research, I think that unless you share your findings then what is the point in being a researcher! I have recently published a small piece in the Amphibian Specialist Groups; Froglog 106. This highlights the importance of my work in terms of conservation, click the link below to read this article.

In order to promote my work I have spent a fair few hours on twitter, I have truly embraced tweeting! I think it’s a great opportunity to share your work, as well as keep up to date with news and events going on in the world. Through my account I have met people who I would love to work with in the future, I have found out about papers and current research which I may not have otherwise seen, I even won £100 of book vouchers for tweeting a photo of my research! I love using media to promote your work and sometimes it really works! I expect many people have seen this little froggy doing its thing: This has to be one of the cutest frogs I have ever seen…. I decided to put up my own video, not quite so popular but then it doesn’t make that amazing noise, my video of a salamander attempting to walk over the hairs on my arm… I use twitter as a way of promoting my research by uploading many photos and videos. Check out my profile to find out more… @katyfrogg

This year I am heading out to Peru at the end of May however last year I traveled out to Peru very early on and missed the start of the English summer, something which to be honest is always hit and miss… Well this year I have been lucky, due to leaving a little later I have been able to do what I love best in this country and work with Great Crested Newts. I love this species; they seriously look like little underwater dragons especially the males with their amazing crests! My supervisor has been researching British newts for many years at two sites one on campus and the second on a farm a few fields away. I have been involved in these surveys for about 5 years now and have my own license to catch great crested newts which are a European protected species. As well as amphibian surveys I occasionally help my supervisor with reptile surveys, he completes adder surveys at a few sites and had very recently started radio tracking them! I have added some photos of my favorite British critters to this post, can’t have a post without pictures!!

As well as continued work on my research I have been keeping very busy, I am a member of the university mountaineering club, and we often go on trips away for rock climbing and walking. This is something I have been doing while back in the UK and have also included some pictures below. This love of climbing encouraged me to try something new which I hope to incorporate into my research… Tree climbing, back in 2011 when I started my PhD I completed a tree climbing course, this qualified me to climb in the UK and I gained a good understanding of all the techniques and equipment required to climb safety. I completely fell in love with this, it is amazing to be 20meters up a huge beech or oak tree, yet you still feel completely safe supported by the branches which have been there for many years.

Tree climbing is something I hope to incorporate into my research. Judging by the data I have so far collected in Peru I have a feeling that I am missing many species which are higher up into the canopy of the forest! The only way to find and research these species is to go up into their world. This is something which has had relatively little research attention; the canopy of rainforest is one of the last undiscovered places where very few humans have ever ventured. This is where I hope to go!! My scholarship has enabled me to do many things over the past year and a half, and tree climbing is one more project which may be possible! I have been gradually buying myself bits of climbing equipment and have been practising my skills (more photos below). With the hope of using these interesting techniques to collect some new and exciting data, during this survey period.

So back to my upcoming trip, I will be flying out on the 29th May and should be in Iquitos by the 30th. The first expedition I will be joining will be the with the DICE undergraduates two of whom are going to be doing amphibian projects. This should be a very enjoyable trip with a very small group, after two weeks we will be joined by the operation Wallace groups who we will stay with until July. I will be attending a amphibian symposium in Costa Rica and August then will be heading back to the jungle… But more on all that later, for now I need to finish my preparation so wish me luck and my next post should be from Peru!!

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