skip to Main Content

Cold Calling an Expert

I’ve been researching the marsh habitat and the salt marsh harvest mouse (SMHM) for years. I’ve worked in the marsh pulling out ice plants, cleaned the marsh, laid down in the marsh to look up to the sky to see what the mouse might see, and run on paths aside the marsh probably a thousand times. But never, never have I seen the marsh mouse up close.

I finished another manuscript and needed expert review. I googled experts and found a research study being conducted out of UC Davis. Further digging and I uncovered the professional studies being conducted by a PhD candidate and field scientist. I emailed her and asked if I could ask her some questions and would she read my manuscript.

And the Expert Said Yes

And oh by the way, would I like to go with her into the field when she tags and collars the marsh mice. What, see them for real? Heck yeah!  Well, after being sick, running a race, being out of town, I didn’t think it would work. Then she called and said, “How about tomorrow?” I was right there.

This is one of the most incredible experiences I have ever had. I could not stop smiling the whole time.  Dr. Katherine Smith is conducting several field studies through out the Suisun Bay. I met her, donned waders, hat and we sloshed through the marsh checking their custom-made traps.

Beautiful Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse
The salt marsh harvest mouse in Suisun Marsh shows off beautiful harvest coloring.
The salt marsh harvest mouse has a sharp bite with grooved teeth.
Collaring is “sharp” work. Notice those gloves the field scientist is using. Mice are not keen on the collar and will definitely bite!
SMHM ear tag for monitoring
See the teeny earring on this salt marsh mouse? It has numbers on the tag so the field scientists may keep track of their study subjects.
Tiny radio frequency collar for salt marsh harvest mouse
This is the tiny radio frequency collar that is placed on the mice to monitor their movements.
Perspective of the salt marsh mouse's size to a human. I couldn't be happier meeting this tiny mouse - maybe her name is Rachel Rose?
Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse's Teeth
Salt Marsh Harvest Mice have grooved, sharp teeth.
Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse
This little sweetheart posed before she received a tag and collar.
Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse of Suisun Marsh
Salt Marsh Harvest Mice in this area are recognized by their darkened hair around their face.
Measuring SMHM
Mice that are captured are measured. SMHM must be a certain length to participate in the study. They are SO CUTE.
Special box used to attract the salt marsh harvest mouse.
Special box used to attract the salt marsh harvest mouse. They are checked twice a day to monitor the mice. House mice and Western Harvest mice are caught and released.
Back To Top