Virunga Massif (01.01.2015 to 03.31.2015)

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January - March
Communications activities: 

We reviewed the site description text on the TEAM website and coordinated with TEAM Technical Manager, James Maccarthy, and Kate Kaya to update the TEAM site and tools with “Virunga Massif” rather than “Volcanoes National Park”.

Unusual Events at the TEAM Site: 

No unsual events took place at our site.

New Species: 

No new species to the site was encountered. 

Protocol Activities: 

1.     Climate Monitoring Protocol

During this quarter, we experienced issues related to data downloading that will be detailed below. We successfully downloaded and uploaded data from February 23 through March 31.

2.     Terrestrial Vertebrate (camera trap) Monitoring Protocol

The TPK files were sent to TEAM Technical Manager in early of January 2015.  We also tested the camera that had stopped working in field and it is currently working well.

3. Vegetation Monitoring Protocol

During January and February, we continued establishing vegetation plots. Plots 4 and 3 were completed by the end of January 2015. As mentioned in the previous report, plots 1 and 2 were completed in December 2014. All 6 vegetation plots have been established and related forms filled in data management tool. A total of 2,741 plants were measured and these are of 25 species (23 species are trees and 2 are lianas). 

Protocol Problems: 

i)              Climate station

From January through March, we experienced the issues of data conversion and data downloading from the logger and Compact Flash Memory Module.

Data of January 9 through February 22 failed to get converted. It was likely that data were corrupted.

Also we realized that no data were saved on the memory card that we put in the Compact Flash Memory Module. We managed to solve this issue in March by disconnecting and connecting again the Compact Flash Memory Module.  During the time of failure, the Module was not showing the green light.

In addition, for some reason our computers failed to communicate with the RS232 cable. After several trials, we managed to download new software (PL2303_Prolific_GPS AllInOne_1013) that we installed on a tablet and the issue was solved. Data were successfully downloaded on March 31 and we only found data dated from February, 23. 

To avoid further loss of the data, we ordered a new RS232 cable from Campbell Scientific as alternative. Also if the problems of the Compact Flash Memory Module persist we plan to send it to Campbell Scientific for repair.

ii)             Camera traps

We managed to fix the problem of camera trap number 13 that stopped working while in Array 2 after taking 2,202 images on its 22 day in field. We realized that the issue was possibly the humidity because after three days with batteries inside, all buttons worked well.

iii)            Vegetation plots

We relocated proposed vegetation plots 5 and 6. Where plot 5 was relocated in December 2014, the terrain had a lot of ravines and it was not possible to get 100mx100m. The proposed plot 6 in Mgahinga was also relocated because it was in a burnt area and there were no trees. On this report a map showing the location of the established 6 plots, where camera traps were deployed in 2014 and the location of the climate station is attached.

We visited the herbarium of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International/ Karisoke Research Center to identify plant species. There are three species that we did not find there. We are arranging to visit the National Herbarium for their identification. 


Schedule Problems: 

Due to difficult terrain, establishing vegetation plots took more time than expected but we are happy that with offered extension to February, we were able to finish all of them. 

Logistical Problems: 

No logistical problem was met.


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