Seeing as I have been awake since the the rest of the desert went to sleep, I thought I’d share a lightning storm happening under all the stars. August is the monsoon season in New Mexico, and that means time to analyze all the data from field work! Already my partner and I have found some incredible relationships between the rodents living in the desert ecosystem and the environmental change of shrub encroachment. Due to many factors, this year was very healthy for kangaroo rat populations. We found the most of them in our traps, and significantly more so in shrublands. As we will be writing up in our manuscript, this could be leading to a vicious cycle of shrub encroachment. Kangaroo rats are ecosystem engineers that disturb grasslands by uprooting plants and disturbing soil- the perfect condition for the Creosote shrub!