The last three weeks here in Madagascar have flown by! The week after I returned from Mangevo I was unable to join my team in the field as I was recovering from an infection that prohibited me from wearing boots, which made it impossible for me to hike out with them. Fortunately I found things at CVB to occupy my time, particularly researching ideas for future research and working on my thesis. That week was also pretty crazy at the station as we were preparing for the US Ambassador to visit along with representatives from USAID and the Ministry of Environment in Madagascar. The other researchers, students, and I had a wonderful dinner with them that Friday night and I was able to share with the Ambassador and representatives details of the work that I am doing.
I hope they were all impressed and inspired by the amazing research being done here and will continue to support everyone’s work here! Last Monday I was finally able to join my team out in Vatoharanana/ Valohoaka located in the National Park not too far from CVB. I was so impressed to find out that they had already sampled from two groups at each site! During the week I was out with them we were able to find three more groups and in total gathered 50 samples! In the seven groups there were potentially different 33 individuals, but because the lemurs are not collared we cannot be sure that we did not resample certain individuals that may have moved between groups from day to day.
We returned from the field Monday morning and I decided to give my team the rest of the week off (especially because my student Ndimby will be traveling to Antananarivo to get married this Saturday! Congrats to him!), although I went out with another guide, George, to do botanical plots in Masomanga which was the first location we sampled. George is great and I am so happy to have his expertise joining my team to get all our botanical data to go with the genetic data we are gathering.
This Sunday evening Ndimby will be returning to CVB with an American PhD candidate at Yale, Chloe, who will be helping me with my project in July as she scopes out some sites for her future research. I am very excited for her to join us! This coming Tuesday we will be heading to the Southwestern portion of the park to sample there along with doing botanical plots. Because of the distance and our attempts to sample multiple sites we will be out for three weeks in total and I won’t be returning until late July. I am so pleased with how things are coming along and I hope that the upcoming few weeks will yield more data and lots of samples!