Term 2 is chugging along in the lab. Kephra's (Honours) damselfly hypoxia experiments are coming along nicely and the Tseng lab/Biol411 combo have just started another big museum project. We're looking at how entire insect communities have changed over time. Should be fun!
Cam and I had a successful field trip today to sample some alpine lakes (1800m). We sampled Harmony Lake (Whistler Mountain) and Blackcomb Lake, (Blackcomb mountain), about a 2 hr drive from campus. Taking a gondola to our field site was the way to go! (Note to self: only collect from alpine lakes at ski resorts). And, just as a public service announcement for anyone else looking to hike 8-10km and jump into lakes to sample critters, neoprene kayaking/paddling pants work really well. You're definitely wet while hiking, but you're warm, and you don't have to haul waders in your pack. Looking forward to testing out a pack raft one of these days though.
Success! We sampled 18 of the 21 lakes we had on our list and the samples are on route to the lab to be ID'd and counted. The Yukon is pretty spectactular - super friendly people (except for the two drunks in Dawson City), and an incredible landscape. Looking forward to going back already.
Sometimes, when you're counting Daphnia till the wee hours of the morning (well, 10:30pm), they treat you to a little show. Here's a female releasing her first instar babies... (yes that's the scientific name, sort of). There were >30 babies in there.
Why evolve one species at a time when you can do two? The lab has branched into evolving both consumer and resource - SO excited to see if this works out! (It'd better)
CBC news reported today that the bee parasitoid Apopcephalis borealis was found in honeybees in Canada for the first time. Photo from CBC news, "A phorid fly maggot exits a bee before becoming a pupa en route to an adult fly. (John Hafernik)". Apparently parasitoid infection alters bee behaviour - they come out at night and repeatedly smash themselves into lights. Eeek...
We've been using ImageJ/FIJI a lot in Biol411. We used it to measure elytron length for the beetle museum project. For our current class project (giant lit review on the effect of temperature on insect life history traits) we're going to use it to digitize figures from published papers. Here's how to get started, in case you want to do the same: 1. download the Figure Calibration plugin. 2. Open FIJI. 3. Go to Plugins --> install Plugin --> select the Figure Calibration plugin. Now, open the figure you want to digitize in FIJI. Draw a rectangle around the box of the figure. Go go to Plugins -> Figure Calibration. A box should come up that lets you input the x and y coordinates. Then use the point tool (or line, or whatever), to click on the spot you are interested in. Then hit 'measure'. Voila!
Eg - The figure below is from Laws and Joern 2012, Predator–prey interactions in a grassland food chain vary with temperature and food quality. Once you get the plug-in installed in FIJI, open up the figure, then draw a box on top of the axes, like I've done in red, below. The go to --> figure calibration, and input the axes. In this case, I'm not interested in the x, so I've just left it as is. I have inputted the y-lower, and y-upper. Then use the point tool to click on the top of the bar graph (hit Measure), as well as the error tick (hit Measure). Now you'll have your mean and error for each bar.