THE JOURNEY

Human Interactions

Carla Meurk
14 Feb 2011 - 19:29
Research Areas
Human Interactions
Campbell Island Bicentennial Expedition
Campbell Island Bicentennial Expedition
Campbell Island Bicentennial Expedition

Now that the team are back on the mainland it is time to consolidate our island research into publications. With respect to two of my projects data collection from Campbell constitutes one component of a wider research agenda requiring further empirical research. The first of these two projects focuses on the history and anthropology of scientific endeavour on Campbell and the influence of changing bureaucracies of science funding and management; the second will utilise a network analysis...

Carla Meurk
28 Jan 2011 - 20:21
Island Life
Human Interactions
View from Mt Honey
View from Mt Paris
Southern tip of NZ
Megaherb fields
View from Mt Paris

In this, my last blog from Campbell, I thought I’d compile a list of highlights and lowlights experienced on the Campbell Island Bicentennial Expedition 2010/2011:

Lowlights:
5: Sinking knee deep in peat and being unable to pull my leg out without lying down in the mud and spreading myself out as much as I could in order to free myself and thinking ‘this must be how the Moa felt’.
4: Crawling on my hands and knees through the scratchy Draco more...

Carla Meurk
26 Jan 2011 - 21:47
Island Life
Human Interactions
Skill 6

My previous list neglected one important fieldwork capability. In the interests of completeness I thought I’d add fieldwork skill number 6: Learn to be comfortable toileting anywhere, and in any weather.

[Carla Meurk]

Carla Meurk
22 Jan 2011 - 20:43
Island Life
Human Interactions
Col-Lyall Saddle
Lyall Ridge
The Clag
Drying laundry
A shorts and t-shirt day?

Walking through a sea lion colony yesterday, Campbell’s wind thwarted my planned blogging activities. As I simultaneously counted live and dead sea lion pups, kept an eye on the Bulls (‘beach masters’) and minded my step on an exposed rocky outcrop in screaming wind, I was unable to add a fifth task of photography. Sadly, therefore, this experience of life (and death) in the subantarctic went un-pictured. I would love to have captured the cute yet devilish image of baby...

Carla Meurk
21 Jan 2011 - 20:18
Island Life
Human Interactions
Pants
Pants
Shoes
iPod
Back
Waist belt

Many ecologists (and anthropologists for that matter) describe how the love of fieldwork was an important motivator in their choice of degree and career path. For those wishing to proceed along the research trajectory nowadays a PhD is a necessary prerequisite. However, there are many fieldwork skills that your university education will not teach you. To assist the budding fieldworker, I have compiled a handy list of skills required in the field:

1.    Learn to sew,...

Carla Meurk
20 Jan 2011 - 20:53
Island Life
Human Interactions
Coring a lake

Now, I don’t like to complain ... but this past week has been more difficult than most. My energy has waned, my knees are achy and it’s been quite quite cold. My pack’s waist belt snapped and a top strap has gone as well. The deterioration of my gear, fatigue and an insatiable appetite is helping me adjust to the prospect of returning home in just over 2 weeks.

Still, I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to assist Paleolimnologist Dr Krystyna Saunders...

Carla Meurk
9 Jan 2011 - 21:12
Island Life
Human Interactions
Sipping On C4
The Ships Have Sailed
Talking To Mum

This past week has been a particularly busy one with mid-term resupply happening from the 10th to the 13th of January. As resident social scientist, I am beginning to interview our departing team members whilst also engaging with the visiting tourists—three ships in total over this two week period. The ships sitting in the harbour punctuate the non-human landscape and bring about an exciting (and exhausting!) shift in pace for the 24-48 hours they are here. The crews from Heritage...

Carla Meurk
8 Jan 2011 - 20:50
Island Life
Human Interactions
Almost Scrapbooking
Christmas Decorations
Cup Holder
Washers For Cooking
Re-creating Photopoints

As we near the expedition’s halfway mark I have been thinking about the ways in which each team member expresses his or her creativity. Photography is a passion for many members, especially Shelley who has brought with her an impressive assemblage of photographic equipment in order to capture the island’s environment and aesthetics. The obligatory cooking tasks we share have been appropriated as an opportunity to showcase our culinary flare—a particularly fine art given...

Carla Meurk
3 Jan 2011 - 19:47
Research Areas
Human Interactions
Sea Lion Steward
Albatross Nest On Track
Track Through Draco
Track Monitoring
Hoiho Standing Guard

The altercation with the Sea Lion described in my previous blog prompted my reflection upon how the environment mediates human social relationships. It also disrupted our plans. Leaving the veg plots for a day we encountered this creature en-route to one of the islands’ peaks, Mt Paris, where we planned to retake photographs of the landscape pictured in 1907 by the Philosophical Institute of Canterbury. Focused, as we were, on getting around this Bull we mistook a Sea Lion track for...

Carla Meurk
1 Jan 2011 - 20:20
Island Life
Human Interactions
1984 Fence Line
Veg Meurk 84
Fieldwork Posture
Sticta Colinii
Southernmost Vegetation Plot
Dad And Sea Lion

On this trip I play dual role of field assistant and researcher. During the time I am assisting with fieldwork I am also observing and documenting scientists’ fieldwork practices. This participant observation constitutes one aspect of my data collection on scientists’ engagements with this environment. During the past week I have assisted expedition team leader (and father) Colin Meurk resurvey a series of vegetation plots that he began monitoring in 1984 when sheep were...

Carla Meurk
27 Dec 2010 - 20:01
Research Areas
Human Interactions
Cool Lichen Number 1
Cool Lichen Number 2
Cool Lichen Number 3
Such Amazing Textures
The Coral One
Cover Girl
Jigsaw Puzzle

What do Lichens have to do with people? This was a question I puzzled over as I attempted to write a blog that would allow me to showcase photographs of cool Lichens taken while momentarily sidetracked from my focus on the study of humans. The first lichen I noticed I thought looked like coral—my developing appreciation of lichens trailing my enjoyment of diving. I guess one can only group a new thing in relation with the kinds of things one already knows about.

As I...

Carla Meurk
10 Dec 2010 - 14:25
Research Areas
Human Interactions

Campbell Island, a small dot located in the furious fifties, is of immense importance to professional scientists and amateur naturalists alike. These intrepid present day voyagers brave rough seas and a hostile climate to experience the unique flora and fauna. Over the next nine weeks I’ll be studying the people who visit this remote location to answer questions about how they relate to the social and natural environment that surrounds them. In addition to my study of others, this...

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