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Suzanne Tomassi | An avian adventure

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In a few weeks, I head off for the first field season in my new position managing the avian studies at Danum Valley Field Centre (DVFC) in Sabah, Malaysia (on the island of Borneo). I’m starting this blog both to keep a record for myself and to share photos and stories with interested friends and fellow ornithologists and bird nerds.

In brief, my new dream job entails conducting a long-term study of the impacts of logging on avian community ecology in some of the last remaining ancient primary rainforest on Earth, the great lowland dipterocarp forest of Borneo in Danum Valley Conservation Area. This project is part of the work of Dr. David Edwards of University of Sheffield. I’m adding a study of reproductive physiology to the main body of work, pursuing a question that’s been burning in my brain for years: in the absence of a highly variable photoperiod, what are the proximate and ultimate triggers for reproduction?

In addition to the DVFC work, I’m returning to Danau Girang Field Centre to teach the ornithology module of Cardiff University’s tropical biodiversity assessment field course with Dr. Benoit Goossens. I participated in the course instruction last year, and I’m thrilled to have been invited to take on the instructorship permanently. So for two weeks of each three-month field season, I’ll be traveling to this field station, in the entirely different floodplain forest of the Kinabatangan River.

Both positions involve extensive mist-netting and long hours in the jungle, so check back for lots of close-up bird photos and pontification over molt limits, parasites, hormone levels, and other fun stuff!

Part-time Wenatchee resident Suzanne Tomassi manages an avian studies program in Borneo. The group is studying the impact of logging on reproduction.