McCleery Lab Video Blog Series
Keep up with the latest field and research happenings of the McCleery lab through our video blog series. Here we'll post fun updates of fieldwork and research news from around the world. If you have questions contact Katie.
Investigating Pollinators in eSwatini
Lorna McCallister, MS student
Globally, savannas are shifting from open, grass-dominated ecosystems to dense, shrub-encroached land due to land use change, fire suppression, and climate change. To investigate how this change in vegetation affects pollinator communities, MS student Lorna McCallister observed pollinators at sites along broad and small-scale gradients of woody vegetation cover in eSwatini. In this video, Lorna describes her fieldwork which involved camera trapping for birds and observing insect visitors to winter flowering aloes.
White Rhino Dung Sampling
Zoe Nhleko, PhD student
PhD student Zoe Nhleko takes you to Marekele National Park in South Africa to explain how she finds white rhino dung piles, how to take a proper sample. Zoe is using these data to identify how poaching is affecting white rhino physiology.
Cotton rats in the longleaf pine ecosystem
Katie Hooker, PhD student
PhD student Katie Hooker takes you into the field at Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy near Tallahassee, Florida where she is conducting a large-scale ecosystem manipulation study. Experimentally increasing the cotton rat population density through targeted supplemental feeding, Katie hopes to better understand how changes in one species density impacts other species in the system.
Vegetation characteristics and wildlife biodiversity
Haley Epperly, MS student
Haley Epperly, a MS student in the lab, takes us into the field in Kruger National Park, South Africa where she is conducting biodiversity surveys. Using techniques to sample vegetation, birds, bats and small mammals, Haley is determining which vegetation characteristics lead to greater animal diversity.
Sanibel Island small mammal populations
Wes Boone, PhD student
Our research seeks to determine the influence of habitat management and restoration on native small mammal populations. Additionally, we are investigating the genetic distinctness of the insular (island) hispid cotton rat and Sanibel Island rice rat compared to peninsular Florida populations. Our findings will shape future management plans developed to conserve these species in perpetuity.
Southeastern pocket gophers
Sarah Duncan, Post-doctoral Researcher
Sarah Duncan, a post-doctoral Researcher in the lab is working on a multi-state, collaborative project to understand more about the ecology, natural history, and population dynamics of the understudied southeastern pocket gopher (Geomys pinetis). Here, she gives us a rare look at the elusive southeastern pocket gopher, an animal seldom seen above ground.
Handling a squirrel
Adia Sovie, PhD Student
PhD student Adia Sovie takes us into the field with her at the Jones Center in Newton, GA. Adia is studying how fox and gray squirrels interact, how human activities may change those patterns, and what that means for forest ecosystems in the southeastern United States.
Adia Sovie, PhD Student
PhD student Adia Sovie describes her dissertation research on the 'food economics' fox and gray squirrels use when foraging. Using food trays, she will determine if animals behave differently when they encounter shelled vs. unshelled seeds.
Stalking GPS-collared fox squirrels with radiotelemetry
Cat Frock, PhD Student
Animal tracking technologies have advanced rapidly in recent years, resulting in lightweight GPS collars with remote data downloading capabilities. Since 2016, we have been testing this first-generation equipment with a species of special concern in Florida, the Sherman’s fox squirrel. The GPS/VHF collars provide location data with increased accuracy and reduced field effort compared to traditional telemetry studies. Cat will use this data in her Ph.D. dissertation to determine how animal habitat selection and movement behavior are influenced by the interaction of external factors (i.e., biotic and abiotic variables obtained from remote sensing platforms) at multiple spatiotemporal scales and internal factors (e.g., animal personalities), as well as the resulting applications to animal conservation in the face of environmental change.
Florida bonneted bats
Elizabeth C. Braun de Torrez, Post-doctoral Researcher
Elysia Webb, Master's Student (Ober Lab)
Florida bonneted bats (Eumops floridanus) are rare bats found only in south Florida and are listed on the U.S. endangered species list. This research is part of Elysia Webb's (master's student in Dr. Holly Ober's lab) research, focused on understanding the many aspects of the ecology and behavior of these unique bats in order to inform conservation and recovery strategies. In this video, we show a brief glimpse of our cutting-edge work using GPS tags to track Florida bonneted bat movement patterns across the landscape.
Long-term vegetation sampling at Kruger National Park
Dr. Bob McCleery
Dr. McCleery is working in Swaziland, a small country in southern Africa, and Kruger National Park with researchers from the Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS) and the University of Swaziland to understand how the presence or absence of large mammals changes vegetation. The goal of the project is understand how megafauna-mediated vegetation changes influence faunal and floral communities, and whether community shifts result in a loss of ecosystem functions.
Katie Hooker, PhD Student
Cotton rats (Sigmodon hispidus) are primary consumers in longleaf pine ecosystems, meaning they are one of many species at the first level of the food chain. The interactions between animals at this primary consumer level are not well understood and my research aims to determine how environmental changes impact the longterm populations of multiple primary consumers across the southeastern United States. I will analyze this question using Northern bobwhite quail (Colinus virginianus) and small mammal capture data from multiple sites in Florida and Georgia.
Sherman's fox squirrels
Alex Potash, Master's Student
Using novel technology is exciting, but it has occasional drawbacks. The small GPS collars we’re putting on fox squirrels are impressive, but sometimes they malfunction. When that happens we have to recapture a particular squirrel, test the old collar to determine the problem, and if it’s unfixable, put a new collar on the same squirrel. These collars are at the heart of our data collection and they give us more detail about how fox squirrels use their environment than has ever been available before.
Southeastern pocket gophers
Sarah Duncan, Post-Doctoral Researcher
Southeastern pocket gophers (Geomys pinetis) are fossorial (burrowing) rodents native to the southeastern United States. The range of this species is restricted to the longleaf pines, turkey oak woods, and the coastal plains of Florida, Georgia, and Alabama where the soil is dry and sandy. Pocket gophers are rarely above ground and spend most of their time in burrow systems in which they excavate. Here a female pocket gopher from Florida can be seen digging a new tunnel that will lead into her main burrow system.