My first task here has been to learn how to do climate envelope modelling. Jake (PhD student in Mikes lab) and I figured out how to run generalized additive models, machine learning (decision tree) models and how to use MaxEnt to predict how thermal generalists will respond to climate change. I’ve applied these models to intertidal fish and we are writing a cool paper on how thermal generalists will respond to climate change.
Mike was kind enough to take us on a lab adventure to see some of the amazing desert sites while we (a French student named Sam and myself) visited. Driving through the desert was pretty incredible, giant cacti everywhere and bare mountains popping out of the ground all over the place. When we arrived at the campsite (just over the Utah border) we were disappointed to find many RVs enjoying the beautiful lake with crazy rock formations coming out of it. We decided to get further away from the crowd and find a more relaxed setting. As we drove further the road turned into a dirt path, this was fine, we were all up for an adventure. But then it turned to sand. We were in a small Hyundai sedan. Uh oh. The sand got deeper. We found a slightly firm spot and deliberated what to do. It seemed unwise to go further into potentially deeper sand – but it also seemed difficult to go back up hill in deep sand. We decided to take everything out of the car to make it as light as possible and set up camp where we were as it was a bit further away from everyone else, and then tried to drive out. Mike drove up the sand hill in his Hyundia as fast as possible, he made it all the way to the top, we were all cheering – but then he got bogged. Oh no. Time to push
the car down the hill. We looked around trying to find hard ground, but we were out of luck. Things were looking bad. The ground was harder down by the water, but the expanse between us and the water was completely torn up deep sand. I was walking down to the water trying to find an escape path for us, when I heard a “Fuck it, get out of the car Jake, I’m going for it”, I hadn’t quite registered what was happening until I heard a yell “Caarrrmmenn!!” Jake was yelling at me because Mike and his Hyundai were coming at me at full speed bouncing around like crazy through the sand. I ran to the side and the Hyundai flew past. The car stopped. Mike came out of the car and two fists went up into the air and we all cheered – we wouldn’t waste away and die in the desert sun!!