Long-awaited 2020 update

Well, it looks like the good intentions to keep the site updated with news have gone the way those usually go. Let’s get caught up on everything that’s happened in the year+ since the last post!

The lab had its first graduates: undergraduates Nicole Clapp and Cheyenne Smith both graduated in the OSU class of 2020 and have moved on to medical and graduate school, respectively.

Nicole Clapp successfully defended an honor’s thesis. Stay tuned for a publication coming out of this work, which we just submitted for review last week.

A.J. Hager, another undergraduate in the lab, was awarded the Wentz Fellowship and did an excellent research this project on dear enemy recognition in Anolis.

James Erdmann & Jonathan Albers had a successful first year in grad school and are gearing up their projects in year 2.

Courtney Byrd joined the lab in Fall 2020 as a new Master’s student.

We’ve teamed up with Dr. Liz McCullagh for joint lab meetings and have some exciting collaborative projects in the works: https://elizabethmccullagh.wordpress.com/

Iván de la Hera, an old colleague from the Ireland days, joined as research assistant and has been hard at work analyzing frog calls, helping in the field, and trying to get the local grasshoppers to do something interesting.

Michael, James, Nicole and Cheyenne all contributed talks or posters to the 2020 SICB conference in Austin, in what turned out to be our last in-person conference for a while. Michael and Jonathan participated in the virtual Animal Behavior Society meeting in July.

Michael began teaching Animal Communication, the first time this has been offered at OSU. He decided to make the most of the online format by posting all the lectures online for the world to see: https://twitter.com/FrogListener/status/1295374628601376768

Frog season 2020 was scaled way down, but Michael and Iván put in some serious effort to run playback tests at the height of the lockdown. Highlights include finding a timber rattlesnake up in the trees, lots of great-horned owl sightings, and having the car towed on the very night that a thunderstorm flushed us from the pond early.

Publishing was a bit slow, but Michael got his first paper on experiments done in Ireland, as well as a nice review on bioacoustics and cognition. Many are in review right now though, so more exciting news coming soon! This includes everything from the first experimental work we’ve done at Oklahoma State, to possibly some forgotten data from 15 years ago.

We’ve managed to keep research more or less going, with virtual meetings and careful coordination. So far everyone has been safe and productive, and we hope to keep it that way. We’re looking forward to in-person lab meetings again!

Frog Season 2019 in review

Gray Treefrog

Our first frog season is in the books! Since getting started in January, we’ve been working hard to get equipment in place and some experiments planned so that the lab is off to a good start at Oklahoma State University.

The first big challenge was to find a good pond to work in. This is more difficult than it sounds. Our study species are gray treefrogs, and they can be heard almost everywhere in the area. Which sounds great, but in most cases there’s only a few of them calling in any one place. In order to do experiments on their behavior, we need very large numbers. So the key is to find a pond that has a large population that calls consistently night after night. We had several possibilities in mind based on asking around and looking at maps online. But the first few didn’t pan out. Thankfully, we came across a nice looking pond at the McPherson preserve, which happens to be OSU land. After scouting it a few days and nights we settled on working there and that turned out to be a great move. There is a very large population there! We marked 236 unique individuals and made nearly 400 separate recordings. The pond is large, surrounded by trees and fishless, so it is perfect for frogs. And several species are very abundant.

Weather played an interesting role in our field season. Mid-May was full of storms, flooding and tornado warnings in this part of the country, and it became a little frustrating to have to cancel so many nights because of the storms. However, this worked out in our favor in the end because all that rain kept the pond good and full, and the frogs came out in very large numbers most nights we were out there.

There will be some new pictures put up soon on the photos page, and check the twitter account for lots more. We saw quite a lot out there in addition to gray treefrogs.

What made it such a fun and productive summer was the great team, couldn’t have asked for a better one to get started at OSU. The frog team was:

  • Nicole Clapp – Undergraduate researcher and recipient of a Wentz scholarship to perform her independent project.
  • James Erdmann –Technician and soon to be Ph.D. student.
  • A.J. Hager – Undergraduate assistant. Quickly developing into one of the best frog finders out there.
  • Cheyenne Smith – Undergraduate researcher funded by the Oklahoma Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation program to perform an independent project.

Stay tuned for updates on everyone’s project. We’ll relax a little now that the frog season is over, but we’ve got lots of data to go through as well!

 

Technician Position

THIS POSITION HAS BEEN FILLED. THANK YOU FOR YOUR INTEREST.

 

The Reichert lab in the Department of Integrative Biology at Oklahoma State University is searching for a temporary (5 month) full-time research technician to assist with our studies of frog bioacoustics. The position will run from March 15 (or as soon as possible thereafter) until August 15, 2019.

The primary duties will be field work involving audio recordings and behavioral tests in local populations of gray treefrogs. The technician will be involved in field collection efforts, behavioral monitoring, data collection and management and construction and maintenance of experimental equipment. Being comfortable with and able for work in the field at night is essential.

Preferred qualifications include:

A bachelor’s degree in biology or related area of study.

Experience working with some or all of the following: animal behavior, amphibian monitoring and marking, bioacoustics techniques & software, data management, field research

Reliability, flexibility and motivation to work both alone and as a team under sometimes difficult field conditions.

 

The position will be based at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, OK. Salary is paid hourly at $12.50/hr.

 

To apply, please send the following to Dr. Michael Reichert at michael.reichert@okstate.edu:

CV listing relevant experience, a brief statement of interests and qualifications, unofficial copies of academic transcripts and names and contact information for two references.

 

For more information about the research group, see https://reichertlab.com/