The crowdfunding campaign on http://www.experiment.com is going great! First and foremost, thank you to all of the backers for your support and generosity. With your help, we hit my $3,385 goal and fulfilled my $15,385 minimum budget to make this experiment happen! I am thrilled at the chance, and so excited to have you all on board.
As Professor Losos said in his endorsement, the results of this experiment could “end up in the textbooks” – a compliment that both humbles and inspires me. We have a unique opportunity with this project to make a big leap in our understanding of the dynamics connecting humans, ecology, and evolution. I’m doing everything I possibly can to make sure we get it right!
We’ve surpassed my must-have budget, but there are still a whole lot of logistical hurdles that keep me up at night. Three that have had me grabbing for the notepad under my pillow are 1) island selection and baseline data collection, 2) rock purchasing and transportation, and 3) rock wall building. With each additional dollar, these problems begin feeling more manageable.
I will use these stretch funds to 1) collect more insect samples on more potential islets to find ten that will best support these lizards. These samples will also enable more rigorous comparisons to conditions after lizards are introduced. Additional funds will also enable me to find the best local resources (people, etc.) relating to the 2) purchasing and moving of all of these rocks. With additional funding, I hope to circumvent the time-intensive process of hauling rocks with trucks and boats, by hiring a helicopter to do the transporting in a few glorious swoops. I already have leads on helicopters for hire, but they’re expensive! Additional funds could turn this step in the project from a week-long rock-hauling slog, to an afternoon of helicoptering. Finally, 3) building walls is tough work and I want to make sure I’m mimicking traditional designs. Additional funds would help me hire professional wall-builders to help build these walls quickly and appropriately.
So, here’s how I came up with this stretch goal:
$115 will buy additional insect traps that I can deploy via kayak to all of the potential islets.
$1,000 added to the originally budgeted costs for rock transportation will enable a helicopter hire, converting a week’s worth of rock-hauling into more time for science!
$500 will hire the originally budgeted wall builders for additional days of supervision and work.
I have set lofty goals for this project, but because of your support, we can make it happen. Now, I need your help to make sure it happens well, so I can maximize the time I spend studying the system, and ensuring that this project yields as much insight as possible into these exciting questions.