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Cornell University

Blogs from the Field

A healthy future for wildlife, people, and planet.

Carolina's compares the size of her hand to an African elephant's foot.

As one of the seven natural wonders of the world, Victoria Falls draws travelers from around the world to experience the majestic shower of falling waters. After connecting with the Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust (VFWT) and securing a position on their team, I began planning travels to a country I knew little about....
Team Crab PLT in the Galápagos

The equatorial sun is fierce and radiates off the field of lava rocks that make up the rugged shoreline. My co-investigators and I are swiftly processing twenty Sally Lightfoot crabs that were collected from the nearby rocks. For each crab we individually identify them, measure dimensions, obtain a body weight, perform a physical exam, and count a heart rate to assess their health....
Honeybee hovering near a sunflower

I have an affinity for bees. I came by it honestly: my grandfather was a beekeeper. Upon his death decades ago, I was allowed to take a few small keepsakes from his home; one of my choices was his beekeeping book, “The Hive and the Honey Bee, Edited by Roy A. Grout.” His copy was printed in 1954, but the history of the book dates a 101 years earlier (authored by Langstroth) and continued through 2015 (edited by Graham)....
Laci Taylor on JGI truck

In November 2019, my classmate, Hannah Padda, DVM ’22, and I were selected by Dr. Robin Radcliffe, a Cornell wildlife veterinarian and associate professor of practice in wildlife and conservation medicine, as two of six participants for his 2020 Engaged Cornell team....
Nurdles-plastic gravel by Barbara Agnew

One word: nurdles. Nurdles are plastic pellets, approximately the size and shape of lentils or split peas. Nurdles are manufactured, and then shipped to companies across the planet to be made into other things — other plastic things....
Mariacamila Garcia Estrella shown in the field with another vet examining a young buffalo

A few weeks ago I learned about trypanosome parasites in parasitology class. As the professor explained what diseases these parasites cause, one species of trypanosome in particular stood out to me, Trypanosoma evansi. T. evansi is transmitted by tabanid flies and is found throughout Africa, Asia and tropical America, and it causes a disease called surra in all domestic species.
Amir Sadaula collecting blood from an immobilized rhino.

As I write this in summer 2020, it is almost six months since the first reports that a mysterious new pathogen was emerging in the Chinese city of Wuhan. Given the pandemic that ensued, few of us remain unaware of the omnipotent reach of wildlife-origin microbes to disrupt our health, our economies and our liberty....
Salmon net pens

Mostly stuck at home like the rest of you, I cannot get the constant talk about testing and tracing out of my head during this COVID-19 pandemic. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s voice is ever present, and I welcome his daily, even-tempered and pragmatic broadcasts about how to keep us safe. Given my line of work, I easily saw some analogies, and I said to my work-at-home spouse on one of our daily walks, “Fish farmers have to deal with epidemics, too.”
Hawai'ian Apapane bird with mosquito in eye

Vector-borne infectious diseases pose substantial threats to human health and the conservation of wildlife. Avian malaria in Hawai‘i provides an example of the devastation caused by the emergence and spread of such diseases within susceptible host populations.