Working with natural history collections has provided many opportunities for fieldwork in some pretty incredible places. With a few exceptions, all of the specimens collected on these trips can be located in the natural history collections aggregator VertNet or directly in the database Arctos.
National Park Small Mammal Inventory 2002 & 2003 Working with Joe Cook, I participated in small mammal surveys in Denali, Wrangell-St. Elias, and Lake Clark National Parks in Alaska. Not only was this research valuable for assessing the mammalian biodiversity in these parks, the mammals and parasites also contributed to the Beringian Coevolution Project. All specimens from this project are archived at either the Museum of Southwestern Biology or the Alaska Museum of the North.
Northwest Territories 2004 Two species of North American red-backed voles (genus Myodes) have a contact zone stretching across North America and have a history of hybridization in some areas. I joined Amy Runck to sample voles from the contact zone south of Great Slave Lake. We worked long days, but were rewarded by breath-taking Aurora Borealis displays every night. Mojave Desert 2004 & 2005 During my master's degree, I did live trapping of Mohave ground squirrels (Xerospermophilus mohavensis) and round-tailed ground squirrels (Xerospermophilus tereticaudus). I learned to love the Mohave Desert and the arid environment for its underappreciated diversity.
Western United States 2008-2013 While a research assistant at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science and as a Ph.D. student, I collected chipmunk and other small mammal specimens from 11 western states. These samples contributed to my dissertation and resulting publications. This fieldwork took me to some amazing landscapes in the west and I worked with fantastic people. All of the mammals and parasites from this work are archived at either the Denver Museum of Nature & Science or the Museum of Southwestern Biology.
Panama 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016 Joe Cook at the Museum of Southwestern Biology has been collaborating with the scientists at the Instituto Conmemorativo Gorgas de Estudios de la Salud in Panama on small mammal and hantavirus collections. As a participant or teaching assistant of various Tropical Biology courses, I have made several trips to collaboratively collect specimens with the Gorgas crew. These trips introduced me to (and led to me falling in love with) the tropical biology.
Mongolia 2012, 2015 Two different museum-based collecting efforts have taken me to Mongolia. In 2012, as part of the Mongolian Vertebrate Parasite Project, I was on a field crew collecting vertebrates (and their parasites of course) in the western Gobi Desert of Mongolia. I was able to return to Mongolia in 2015 on a crew for the Collaborative & Integrative Inventories of Biomes of the Arctic project. This time we collected in far western and northern Mongolia. Both trips involved long work days, long travel days, eating a lot of sheep, and marvelous scenery. We worked with and met incredible Mongolians and learned so much about their culture. I wrote a blog post about the first trip here.
Peru & Bolivia 2013 My fist trip to South America took me to the Andean Altiplano, the Bolivian Yungas, and the coast of Peru. We were specifically targeting various cavy species, but also collected some other small rodents, bats, and opossums.
Ecuador 2016 I finally got to collect in the Amazon lowlands as the teaching assistant for the Tropical Biology class. We collected at the Estación Científica Yasuní and sampled some of the bat diversity. After that, we gained some elevation and collected in the cloud forest (my preferred tropical habitat). I hope for more opportunities to return that beautiful country.