Brood XIII 2007 - June 8th
News Category: Cicada Missions
Brood XIII 2007 - June 8th
Today started out very sunny but cool. I noticed that a lot of the M. cassini seemed to like to gather themselves low to the ground in order to get warm. Their black bodies absorb the heat from the sunlight so that they can warm up enough to start calling. You can see that this small group of M. cassini are pretty low to the ground because that is where the sun is in the morning.
The great folks at Jubilee College State park where we were camping have allowed UC Storrs to set up a series of stations to conduct various experiments. The exact nature of these experiments again, I am not able to discuss. When you work in academia, sometimes it is important to protect your data so that you don't get "scooped" by others who are conducting similar experiments and gathering similar data.
I was curious as to the nature of the experiments though so I tagged along to check it out. Kathy Hill also stated that she heard small pockets of M. septendecula in the area so I wanted to add to my meager one specimen that I collected so far on this trip. John Cooley was also there, David Marshall was with another graduate student known as "Barbara" digging for nymphs.
I could've continued with the distribution mapping project but I wanted to hang around to check out the experiments. Besides I was asked to help the US Navy later on in the morning with their continuing experiments.
Below are some photos of Kathy Hill and John Cooley gathering data and conducting their experiments which involved isolating Magicicadas in little mesh bags that were tied to tree branches. The nature of these experiments, I'm sorry but I cannot discuss.
Mike Neckermann Photography
Mike brought along this really cool camera and a pair of binoculars. He was off in the "bush" taking photos and looking through his binoculars. I don't know, who this guy think he is, Steve Irwin? Check out the safari get-up in the photo. Click the thumbnail above and to the right. Just kidding Mike! :P
Another M. septendecula Caught!
It took a while because the area we were in where UC Storrs was doing their experiments was covered in M. cassini periodical cicadas. However in amongst the same trees there were a few M. septendecula, their call is quite different from M. cassini but being able to isolate a few specimens of M. septendecula among thousands of M. cassini proved to be quite difficult. But finally, I managed to snag one male specimen that was up high in a tree. It was tough trying to get the M. septendecula to actually sit still!! They would call a few times and then fly off to another location.
More Experiments with the US Navy
I returned to the area where the UC Storrs folks were, I noticed that John Cooley and Mike Neckermann were nowhere to be found. Kathy Hill indicated that they were over at the rickety old barn helping the Navy guys again. Apparently they wanted me to go over to record more experiments. Hey, they have a use for me can you believe it?!?!
The News Crew Has Arrived
When I headed over I noticed a white van in the parking area outside the rickety barn. It was the local Fox affiliate - WYZZ and the local CBS affiliate - WMBD out of Central Illinois. They were conducting an interview with John Cooley. Apparently some PR people in with the folks at Jubilee College State park must've phoned them to come out. John took his hat off and looked "presentable" for the camera. After the impromptu interview, the camera guy went around to film the experiments. I even made it on camera!!
The interviewer and the cameraman were actually pretty cool. Everyone was standing around taking group photos, so I also had to get in on the action. Click the thumbnail below to check out the whole crew that was present during the interview:
From left to right: Richard (US Navy), Derke (US Navy), Interviewer Guy, Camera Guy, John Cooley, Gerry Bunker, Mike Neckermann
The story actually ran on the air a few days later. It was also a featured news story on the internet but alas, when I went there to link to it a few days ago for this update, they had apparently taken it down. I guess it is considered "old news" now.
Navy Experiment #3 - More Work with M. septendecim.
Yesterday's experiments were basically conducted to work out the bugs in the equipment and to devise improved methods for mounting the periodical cicadas. This was one of the first successful experiments with M. septendecim. Click the thumbnail above and to the left to watch the video.
Navy Experiment #4 - Working with M. cassini
After several hours we decided to switch specimens to a M. cassini periodical cicada. Note the method that John Cooley uses to entice the M. cassini to call. Click the thumbnail to the right to watch the video.
Navy Experiment #5 - More work with M. cassini
In this video the sun was going down and it was getting cooler. Mike Neckermann came up with a plan in order to bounce sunlight from the sun which was hanging low on the horizon and reflect it so that it would shine on the Magicicada. It worked pretty good! Click the thumbnail above and to the left to watch the video.
Navy Experiment #6 - M. cassini Third Stage Calling Song
Finally after much effort, John Cooley along with Mike Neckermann managed to get the M. cassini into the third-stage calling song. Very cool! Check out the video to the right by clicking on the thumbnail.
Another End to Another Productive Day.
Today was a really great day. I learned a lot and the experiments that the Navy was conducting were quite interesting, not to mention being filmed for a news story. Let's hope tomorrow will prove to be another productive one! Unfortunately, since I stayed around camp today, like yesterday, I did not gather any data points. I suspect that I will have to get back to that very soon. Now my time is nearly at an end here. Follow along with me to see what tomorrow will bring.