At first glance, the Turkana Basin can seem like a desolate place with a pretty simple food web. Looking out over the landscape, there are widely spaced acacias across the sand flats with scrubby, needle-bearing Indigofera shrubs filling in the gaps for hungry herbivores.
But when you look a little closer, there is a hive of activity on a much smaller scale as pollinating, burrowing, and carnivorous insects jostle for space among the flowers, seeds, and leaves. The pollinators are the special interest of Dr. Dino Martins, and he led the students on their inaugural entomological excursion to a temporarily lush field where bees, flies, and grasshoppers were in the insect equivalent of paradise…if paradise includes intense predation pressures and a scramble to exploit the verdant pasture.
It was actually shocking to see so much green blanketing a space surrounded by the familiar sandy backdrop. Dr. Martins handed out nets and offered a few tips for catching the insects buzzing around the small yellow flowers and abundant love grass.