…though I guess I should really call it a “stream season”, since hellbenders don’t live in fields.
I left early this morning to drive down to my hellbender field site in southern Virginia (locations are not disclosed to protect the populations from poaching). On the way I stopped at the Zoo to analyze some white blood cells that I had collected last Wednesday from our hellbenders in Reptile Discovery Center. The cells are part of a study to investigate the effects of climate change on disease resistance in hellbenders. Because the cells are alive, I have to analyze them following a strict schedule. In this case it coincided with the day I was leaving on a week-long trip to survey hellbenders in the wild. Balancing our Zoo-based studies with a busy field season is going to be a challenge! Read more