Tracking Temperature with Balls and Trees

By Samara on September 26, 2016

As anyone who has visited the karoo in winter knows, it can be quite chilly one day and rather warm the next. This presents a unique obstacle to our vervets who have to deal with constantly varying temperatures. Along with monitoring how the vervets make friends who help keep them warm and observing how they bask in the sun, we also keep data about the varying temperatures throughout their home range on Samara. We do this with something we like to call “temp balls!”

We have placed temp balls throughout the field site that monitor the temperature fluctuations across environments and throughout the day. The temp balls are surrounded by protective housing to ward off any curious visitors. This week we repaired some housing that apparently is a favorite scratching post for the local rhino!

Not only can temperature vary in different locations on the ground, but it can also vary at different altitudes. To monitor these differences, we have built “temp trees.” The trees contain temp balls that are attached at various heights so we know what the temperature is like for the vervets in the trees. They love sun basking at the tops of the trees when the sun rises in the morning. On these cold, cloudy winters days they even sun bask in the day whenever the sun pops out from behind a cloud.

Until next time,

Christina and the Verveteers


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