*** Mikaela Howie is the newest member of our “Eyes on Conservation” team. She will be working on a long-term project whose main objective is to monitor the nesting productivity and population trends of seabirds breeding on the Aleutian Islands of Alaska, as well as other key features that are vital to the conservation of the ecosystem. ***

Aiktak Island along the Aleutians in Alaska.  Photograph by Sean Bogle.

Aiktak Island along the Aleutians in Alaska. Photograph by Sean Bogle.

Hi everyone! My name is Mikaela Gioia Howie and I usually refer to myself as a Wildlife Researcher. I have over 10 years of field research experience, most of which has been focused on avian research. I have worked in a diverse set of habitats and with many different bird species. I am very excited this summer to work for the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge to monitor seabird colonies breeding in the Aleutian Island Chain. I will work to document this summer with video to share with you the experience of working with breeding seabird colonies and how this work fits into the overall goal of using scientific monitoring and research for species protection and conservation.

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Packing for Aiktak Island. Photograph by Mikaela Howie.

Within in this context, I also hope to document the motivations, relative experiences and ambitions of wildlife researchers I meet during this venture. The reasons that people choose to work as seasonal field biologists/wildlife researchers is especially important to me as well as the reasons for choosing to be a part of this particular monitoring project. To this end, I hope to interview FWS project biologists, seasonal biological science technicians and ship crew members that are integral to having a successful field season.

The view from our deployment vessel.  Photograph by Sean Bogle.

The view from our deployment vessel. Photograph by Sean Bogle.

The main body of my work will be to document the actual aims and daily activities that are used to monitor seabird colonies by field crews. I hope that I can also incorporate the ecology of these species within the greater ecosystems of the islands to give a better picture of why monitoring individual species is important to understanding larger scale impacts. To achieve this, I hope to document with video both our daily work activities and also incorporate some interviews with my co-worker on Aiktak Island and myself discussing the ecology of our target species and our island.

Black Oystercatcher on the Aleutians.  Photograph by Sean Bogle.

Black Oystercatcher on the Aleutians. Photograph by Sean Bogle.

Finally, I have an interest in the anthropological aspect of the Aleutian Islands and the native Unangan people of these islands. I would like to provide some background about the Aleut (Unangan) culture into my video work this summer if possible.

For more information about me and my experiences this summer, please check out http://desertedinthealeutians.tumblr.com.

The summer sun of the Aleutians.  Photograph by Sean Bogle.

The summer sun of the Aleutians. Photograph by Sean Bogle.

Thanks for following!

Mikaela

 






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