SCBI Researchers: Notes from the Field
The Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute received a very special delivery in February 2015 from the SVF Foundation: a 1,400 pound tank carrying more than 30,000 biomaterials! The "Smithsonian & SVF Biodiversity Preservation Project" aims to preserve and study the frozen germplasm (sembryos, semen, and other biomaterials) of rare and endangered heritage breeds of cattle, pigs, goat, and sheep. Read more.
In an effort to discover more about the wintering locations and habitat preferences for Kirtland's Warblers, a team of researchers, including Nathan Cooper from SMBC, has traveled to the Abaco Islands in the Bahamas. Read more.
Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center and Brian Smith of the USFWS Division of Migratory Birds Region 6 are deploying cell phone transmitters on Golden Eagles to understand the overwintering movements and the breeding locations of birds wintering in the Colorado-Wyoming region. Read more.
Amanda Caudill and a field crew are currently in southern Costa Rica studying pollinators on coffee farms. They are working on a 740-acre certified, organic coffee farm trying to determine if the way that shade trees are managed influences the diversity of pollinators. Read more.
SCBI researchers met with more than 20 scientists from 3 continents to save the species and ecosystems of central African forests using groundbreaking evolutionary methods, comprehensive monitoring, and local resources. Read more.
SCBI reproductive physiologist Janine Brown has been studying clouded leopards and elephants for more than two decades. Follow her as she travels through Thailand to save species. Read more.
As part of the Reef Recovery Initiative, Smithsonian scientists Dr. Mary Hagedorn, Mike Henley and Virginia Carter visited the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) to use human fertility techniques to help Australia ensure their coral populations for many years to come. Read more.
Learn about Morgan Maly's trip to Dujiangyan, China to help at the China Centre for Research and Conservation of the Giant Panda. Read more.
Check here for updates and photos from Steve Sarro who is currently in South Africa on a penguin conservation trip. Read more.
Follow Dr. Pete Marra's migratory bird work. He is researching in Texas right now and hoping to advance the conservation and understanding of birds throughout their life cycle. Read more.
Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute staff released black-footed ferrets, members of a species once thought extinct, onto wild prairie in Colorado. Read more.
Once a year on August 14, an official holiday in Panama called Panamanian Golden Frog Day, our staff come together to help coordinate a week-long festival celebrating Panama’s flagship amphibian as a symbol for the environment. Read more.
Every spring and summer the National Zoo's Bird House hosts some very special migratory guests—about 100 Black-crowned Night-Herons. Read more.
The Kirtland's Warbler is a small bird that breeds in Jack Pine forests in Michigan and winters in The Bahamas, and possibly other parts of the Caribbean as well. In the 1970's there were less than 200 Kirtland's Warblers anywhere in the world. Read more.
How do you keep one of the world’s largest land mammals happy? SCBI scientist Janine Brown and her team are wrapping up a massive study of what contributes to elephant well-being in human care. Read more.
This study investigates how non-native plants may be affecting food resources for backyard birds. Read more.
In 2012 the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center established a bird banding station at The Nature Conservancy's Clive Runnells Family Mad Island Marsh Preserve (Mad Island) in Matagorda County, Texas. During the springs of 2012, 2013, and 2014, we banded thousands of migratory birds on their northward journey to breeding areas. Read more.
Coffee is an important cash crop worldwide. It is the second highest traded commodity next only to oil. The lives of millions of people are intertwined in this cash crop. Additionally, many studies have shown that coffee farms can serve as refuges for wildlife. Read more.
SCBI scientist conducts the largest and highest arboreal camera trap study in the Peruvian forest to more effectively observe arboreal animals. Read more.
In an ongoing study in Nicaragua, researchers are looking into the role birds play in controlling insect pests on coffee farms. It is a win-win, the coffee farmer gets a free pest extermination service and the birds get food and shelter. Read more.
Studies have begun in the Yasuni National Park, thought to be the most biodiverse habitat on the planet, on the wire-tailed manakin. The park is located in a remote area of Ecuador in the Amazonian rainforest. Read more.
The Endocrine Laboratory at the Zoo's Conservation Biology Insitute tracks and analyzes the hormones for animals throughout the Zoo. Read more.
A National Zoo keeper works with an SCBI scientist to study hellbenders in Virginia. Read more.
SCBI scientists organized and facilitated the thirteenth annual meeting of the Sahelo-Saharan Interest Group. Read more.
SCBI scientists met and coordinated with other Global Tiger Initiative participants to protect the tigers of the Sundarbans. Read more.
SCBI and National Zoo scientists are using science to improve the ways lions live and breed in North American Zoos. Read more.
A team of scientists and keepers traveled to Australia to collect samples of coral and freeze them for future conservation efforts. Read more.
A team of scientists and keepers traveled to Gabon to track tiny mammals through a roadless wilderness. Read more.
Scientists and keepers are traveling all over the eastern United States this year to study a unique and amazing animal: the hellbender, the largest salamander in North America. Read more.
Every spring millions and millions of migratory birds fly non-stop across the Gulf of Mexico and make land fall at places like the TNC's Mad Island Preserve in Texas. Please check in with us regularly from now until mid-May to see how this amazing animal migration is faring. Read more.
Pete Marra, Bob Rice, and Scott Sillett from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute's Migratory Bird Center recently traveled to Cuba. Because of its size and proximity to the United States, Cuba is a critically important island for overwintering migratory birds. Read more.
Several Reptile Discovery Center keepers joined the Orianne Society in Georgia to find and study indigo snakes. They managed to find five of these remarkable and beautiful snakes. Read more.
A great ape keeper headed to Indonesia to learn about conserving orangutans, tigers, and elephants in the wild. Along the way, she got to visit a facility that cares for and rehabilitates orphaned and injured orangutans. Read more.
Three SCBI scientists left in late November 2011 for the remote and mountainous Kingdom of Bhutan nestled in the Himalayas to conduct a critical training course in wildlife health and immobilization. Read more.
Jessica Deichmann, a research scientist with SCBI, and Ed Smith, a biologist at the Zoo’s Amazonia Exhibit spent two weeks in the Peruvian Andes, surveying Acancocha water frogs and measuring tadpole tails. Read more.
A curator of large mammals at the National Zoo went to Malaysia to join a team who was exploring elephant and wildlife conservation working with the Malaysian Department of Wildlife and National Parks. Read more.
SCBI’s research team has just completed a two-year camera-trapping study, and recently captured and radio-collared the first dhole and golden jackal living in (and around) a protected area in eastern Thailand. Read more.
A National Zoo elephant keeper went to South Africa, where he was part of a innovative project to help address challenges in conserving African elephants. Read more.
A Reptile Discovery Center keeper took a trip to Japan to scout out the Japanese giant salamander's habitat and habits; both in the wild and in more controlled environments, such as breeding centers and zoos. Read more.
A Cheetah Conservation Station keeper biologist went to the Ol Pejeta Conservancy outside of Nanyuki to volunteer with a long-term study of large herbivores and their effects on the habitat. Read more.
Zoo scientists and curators traveled to the Temaiken Biopark outside Buenos Aires, Argentina, to participate in a joint international workshop on animal welfare and wildlife enrichment. Read more.
A Bird House biologist travelled to Queensland, to work with the Australian Rainforest Foundation (ARF) in its efforts to save the southern cassowary and establish a wildlife corridor. Read more.
SCBI scientists and keepers took a trip to Panama to help establish "lifeboat colonies" of local amphibians before they're driven extinct by a devastating fungus. Read more.
Small Mammal House keeper Kenton Kerns traveled to Brazil to search for golden lion tamarins, an endangered species found only in the Atlantic Forest in the state of Rio de Janeiro. Read more.
SCBI scientist and keepers conducted a biomedical survey of wild bustards. This understanding of what a healthy wild kori looks like helps provide care for koris in the wild and in zoos. Read more.
For the past three years, SCBI scientists I have been traveling to the west coast of Puerto Rico, timing their arrival for the day of the August full moon. They study elkhorn coral, and need to be there for its annual underwater spectacle. Read more.