Saturday, June 18, 2011

Trials are a'running!

Hi all!

I've run 4 total nights of trials and here's the breakdown so far:

- I am testing 10 cane toads right now, 5 each night (which is 5 hours total of video recording!)
- Of my 10 toads, 5 have food in their arena bowls ('food' treatment) and 5 do not ('control' treatment)
- Every toad that has the 'food' treatment ate on the first night (YAY!). For those of you who read about my research, this means that each toad only has to go through 6 total trials (equals 12 nights of work).

That doesn't seem like a whole lot, but it is 6 1/2 hours of experiments a night (5 hours of trials + setup, breakdown, and switching between toads), and at least 6 hours of video analysis every day. That's right; 12 days straight of 12+ hours days. Eeeep!

But so far, it's been worth it. Here's a picture of what the arena looks like finished:

I had to extend the walls up about 1.5 feet in order for the toads not to be able to jump out. Lesson learned in the lab - it's always good to try it out first, before you actually get to the field! Here's a picture of the inside:

Note that you can't see any of the leaf litter that we spent hours tearing up. :( oh well, at least the dirt works well. Finally, here's a picture of the PVC contraption at the top that holds the camera and the 4 infrared lights (one at each corner):

Pretty groovy, huh? It's like a giant K'nex set - the whole arena is made up of 1 or 2 foot segments of PVC that all fit together, so it can be broken down and packed up when I'm not using it. 

I don't have enough data yet to show you much, so I'll leave you with a toadily awesome photo shoot:

Me and a large female toad. :)

Large female toad by herself. She was not pleased (I woke her up to take the photos!)

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