SPAW Team Update: noah, logan, erin, phil – JUNE 27-JULY 3

SPAW Team logo 2022

The SPAW is proud to announce this year’s team logo. The logo represents each of the team member’s projects. Although each project is distinct, they are all unified under the topic of the SLAWR REU. Top left to bottom right; Erin’s research on wetlands, Noah’s research on evapotransportation, Logan’s research on Yellow-billed Cuckoos, and lastly Phil’s research on lake wind currents.

This past week the SPAW Team has been hard at work conducting fieldwork and collecting data. Although, Phil and Noah’s research does not require fieldwork, each will pair off with Logan and Erin to aid in their projects’ fieldwork. Phil and Erin went out to collect core samples from wetlands, while Noah and Logan began ground-truthing and bird calling for the Yellow-billed Cuckoo. Despite the long hours of fieldwork this past week the SPAW Team was able to take some time and hang out together enjoying the Montana weather. They flew Noah’s drone and took TEAM SPAW pictures and had fun taking videos.

SPAW Team having some fun.


Just kidding. This similar-sounding, equally tasty, but far more majestic antelope is one of my favorite mammals. It is the only member of the family Antilocapridae and is endemic to North America. Its distinctive pronghorns are a puzzle for mammalogists: they branch like antlers, but grow throughout the animal’s life like horns. Both male and female antelope have pronghorns, and they shed an outer sheath every year. The pronghorn is also the fastest land animal in North America, and can run up to 55 miles per hour. Its speed poses another question: the pronghorn does need speed to sneak up on unsuspecting grass, so why does it run so fast?  Mammalogists have concluded that the pronghorn antelope once used its speed to outrun now-extinct predators, such as the saber-tooth tiger.

I think this little one looks pretty majestic as he walks off into the bison range to find his next meal.


Tabitha Gray

On Monday we got a visit by Tabitha Gray. She is did a presentation on the bear population throughout Glacier National Park. It was amazing hearing what they found. The volunteers they had collecting hair from bear rubs, collected hair from various trails throughout the park. This was able to generate DNA data that was able to compile a database that pieced together family relationships. One bear had 108 known descendants.

After this presentations we went to some of the sites to gather information along transcect lines. Three of us interns went along to see how this how this process is done.