Laboratory Maintenance and Equipment Care

The Proyecto Primates laboratory is where we do most of our camp work (measuring fruits, pressing plants, working on the computer, transcribing data, and so on).  We also store plant samples and feeding source samples there, and have a small reference library available.  A number of us share this space, so it is important to keep it (fairly) clean and organized.  It is kind of up to you how you want to share/organize the space – feel free to personalize it with photos, posters, and so on – and how to divide the one chore of sweeping all the dead cockroach parts out every month or so.

More importantly, this is where we keep some of the project’s more sensitive equipment – an electronic balance, the field radios, the laser rangefinder, telemetry equipment, recording and playback equipment, the computer and printer, etc.  All electronic equipment not currently being used regularly should be kept in the “dry box” or in an airtight plastic container along with active silica gel for dessication.

Note: There is a database on the computer in Proyecto Primates folder in the Shared Documents folder with the inventory data.  In that database is listed WHERE each important project item can be found and should be kept, as well as some information about how particular items need to be stored.  All Proyecto Primates folks should familiarize themselves with this inventory database and with the care instructions for project equipment A.S.A.P.  We have a lot of high quality and important electronic equipment here which must be treated well.  Please try to keep the lab organized and clean, update the inventory database as needed, and apprise me ASAP when it looks like we are getting low on any supplies (e.g., tree tags, flagging, data books, etc.).

A couple of important pieces of information about specific items…

IMPORTANT COMPUTER NOTES: Given that this computer is so new and so important to us – and given that it has on it all of the data from my project with Eduardo from the last few years, I want to STRONGLY discourage you from letting other folks work on it.  It’s fine if one of you wants to do something for someone else on this machine, but I do NOT want someone working on it on their own with the possibility of damaging the machine, or erasing or copying data files!  ALSO, any time you add data to one of the databases, you MUST back it up to the Passport external hard drive, and copies of the latest database should be burned to CD every month for a second backup.

A SPECIAL NOTE ABOUT THE BINOCULARS: These are VERY GOOD binoculars with high quality optics that are essential for the kind of detailed phenological monitoring you will be doing on this project.  You should NEVER, EVER clean them with anything other than lens tissue (or toilet paper) and lens cleaning solution (or contact lens solution) – especially NOT on your shirts!  You should clean your binoculars whenever your lenses accumulate dirt or grit on them.  The reason I am such a stickler about this is that your binoculars are by far your most important piece of equipment you have as a primatologist – you will spend a good portion of every day looking through them.