Check out my National Geographic research blog!

If you enjoyed the blog posts below, please check out my National Geographic “Field Notes” blog about recent research activities here:

Red Tape

Bukavu, 10 February 2018 I wish I could say things improved substantially when we headed west to Mwenga, but alas, fate would create more frustrating roadblocks.  With considerable effort we would overcome some of them and make the best of others. The original plan was to ship our repaired truck […]

Against the Current

Aboard the “Super Bus” somewhere on Lake Tanganyika, 27 January 2018 As we approached Kalemie from the north several days ago, thankfully with no more mechanical issues, I could see prominent cell phone towers, large houses and buildings, and other clues that it is a relatively large city.  We welcomed […]

Wrong Turn

Force Bendera, 19 January 2018 We departed Fizi on the 13th of January, heading south through the rolling hills toward the town of Lulimba, which sits at a convenient crossroads for Itombwe to the west, Masisi to the east, and the route south to Kabobo.  En route we stopped at […]

In case you forgot…

Fizi, 11 January 2018 Things got off to a worrying start this year, because I came down with a cold just before leaving El Paso, it got much worse during the uncomfortably long flights to Africa, and I was so exhausted when I finally arrived in Bukavu that I wasn’t […]

Congo 2018 Expedition Starting Now!

Atlanta Airport, 3 January 2018 I am very pleased to announce that I am en route to Congo once again, and if all goes well, I expect to arrive in the country on Friday.  The plan is to sample treefrog biodiversity (Leptopelis and Hyperoliidae) in the Kabobo and Itombwe Plateaus, […]

New Book! Emerald Labyrinth Coming in November 2017

I am very pleased to announce that my new book, Emerald Labyrinth: A Scientist’s Adventures in the Jungles of the Congo, is available for pre-order now.  Five years in the making, this thoroughly researched book places my nine years of experience working in Congo as a biodiversity scientist into a […]

Emerald Abyss Video

On February 11, 2016, the museum exhibit Emerald Abyss: 9 Years in the Congo, opened at the UTEP Centennial Museum.  Check out the promotional video below.  

Grand Theft Moto 4

14 July 2015: Kindu, Democratic Republic of the Congo Because I was able to get ahold of a portable modem today, I was able to update some photos from the previous post, and I’ve uploaded several more for this one.  UTEP students please note that the previous post now has […]

Bone Dry 5

4 July 2015: Katopa, Lomami River, Democratic Republic of the Congo First of all, let me start by saying happy 4th of July!  I hope everyone will enjoy some barbeque, which I would love to have in place of the nearly constant meals of rice, beans, cassava and fish.  Because […]

The Congo Motorcycle Diaries 4

28 June 2015: Chombe Kilima (aka Tshombe Kilima), Democratic Republic of the Congo The plan I outlined at the end of the last post was executed successfully, but it was not easy.  After dropping Wendy off at the airport for her 11:30 PM flight to Europe, Mathias and I took […]

Marsh Madness 8

21 June 2015: Kampala, Uganda Hard to believe it has been a week since my last post, but time flies when one is having fun.   After filing my last post near the town of Buhoma in Bwindi, the rain eventually tapered off and we were cautioned to look out for […]

Uganda’s Grand Canyon 5

14 June 2015: Bwindi Impenetrable National Park For those of you who are new to this blog, please see entries from my previous field season in 2013 for a detailed explanation of the main goals of this work, but in summary, I am a herpetologist working under the auspices of […]

Coming Soon: Uganda & DR Congo 2015 Expedition!

On June 8th I will be departing from El Paso for the final expedition associated with my current grant from NSF (  Please check back after that date to follow the expedition as it is happening in real time.  UTEP students will be participating in the cybertaxonomy aspect of the […]

Breakdown Blues

14 July 2014:  Kampala, Uganda I wish I could say that things improved after finding transportation out of Isiro, but the road continued to be bad for most of the long journey to Nia Nia, where it finally became good.  Shortly after dawn on the 5th of July we traveled […]

The Last Straw

4 July 2014:  Isiro, Democratic Republic of the Congo A small miracle was pulled off when, a few hours after uploading the last post, the mechanics finished working on the destroyed clutch on our truck.  They also patched up our tires as best as they could, and with time running […]

Road Rage 2

29 June 2014:  Bangale, ca. 15 km west of Boda, Democratic Republic of the Congo I must start this blog post, unfortunately, with a bit of bad news.  The last post burned up nearly 50% of the internet usage with my satellite modem, and so until I can get back to […]

Harsh Reality 4

14 June 2014:  Bombole, near Tele, Democratic Republic of the Congo Mathias bought us a very nice breakfast of tshipati (dinner-plate sized discs of fried dough) and cow meat on our last morning in Uganda on the 5th of June, and he even picked up additional tshipati for us to […]

Miraculous Murchison 3

Miraculous Murchison 9 June 2014:  Kisangani, Democratic Republic of the Congo A very long and bumpy ride was necessary to travel from Kasese, the town just east of the Rwenzori Mountains, north to Murchison Falls NP.  Along the way, our Ugandan colleague Mathias Behangana showed off his skills as a […]

Bwindi’s Bounty 4

2 June 2014:  Foothills of the Rwenzori Mountains, west of Kasese After a long drive from Kampala through terraced agricultural hills, we entered a winding road with dizzying sharp turns that seemed to be in the middle of nowhere.  We passed an entire village engaged in the process of excavating […]

The Great Lake 6

23 May 2014: Kampala Uganda. Two nights ago my Ph.D. student Danny Hughes and I arrived at Entebbe Airport, and after filing a report for a missing piece of luggage, we traveled to a steep hill in Kampala to find our hotel, the charming New Hotel Madagascar. Jet lagged and […]

2014 Expedition Coming Soon

Stay tuned- I am departing for Africa on Tuesday, and I will attempt to blog from the field in Uganda and DR Congo as I did last year.

O Kameleo, Where Art Thou?

  O Kameleo, Where Art Thou?   15 August 2013:  Kinshasa, DR Congo.  Two days ago, we finally emerged from the “walls of green” in the great forest to the east of Mbandaka, and I was treated to a delicious but expensive meal of chicken with frites (French fries) and […]

Crocodile City

Crocodile City 2 August 2013:  Watsi Kengo, Salonga River, DR Congo.  Yesterday we returned from Lotulu, a ranger outpost on the Yenge River, which took us about 7 hours to reach from Watsi Kengo.  After heading a couple hours east along the Salonga River from Watsi Kengo, a small branch […]

Walls of Green

  Walls of Green   26 July 2013:  Watsi Kengo, Salonga River, DR Congo.  After spending an interminable six days at an-oven like hotel in Mbandaka waiting for everything to fall into place with the logistics for our long journey to Salonga, we finally left and transferred everything to the […]

Pygmy Delicacy

  Pygmy Delicacy   10 July 2013:  Mbandaka, DR Congo. Today I am providing two posts with photos because I was finally able to get ahold of an internet connection and charge my computer. The package from the satellite company arrived, and I am hopeful I will be able to use the […]

Bonobo Sanctuary 1

  Bonobo Sanctuary   26 June 2013:  Kutu, Fimi River, DR Congo.  Quick update to the post below… it has taken longer than expected to travel the short distance from Nioki to Kutu because of continued problems with transportation.  One does not simply go to the river bank, find a […]

50 Very Long Miles

  50 Very Long Miles   21 June 2013:  Nkala village, ca. 15 km east of Tshumbiri.  Just a quick note to let everyone know that I had hoped to post two stories today, including one about bonobos, but no luck finding the great apes yet.  My computer is almost […]

The rhino and the frog

  12 June 2013, Kinshasa, DR Congo:   As anticipated, I encountered some problems with the technology I am supposed to use to update this blog from the field—Radio Shack let me down by selling me an inverter, a small gadget that conducts electricity from a solar panel to electronic […]

Down the rabbit hole

4 June 2013, Paris France: After a ca. 3 hour flight from El Paso to Atlanta, and another 9 hour flight to Paris, I am now waiting for my flight to Kinshasa, the capital of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).  That flight will be an additional 8 hours. This blog […]