Quick update in February

Sorry for not posting in a while, but life has been relatively uneventful in February. Since returning from BC, I had been working hard in pinning my pollinators, identifying the Diptera flies, wasps, and other insects that ended up in the pan traps to family levels, and starting from Monday (February 20) to March 2, I will be attending a pollinator identification course in Ottawa (hosted by NSERC-CANPOLIN) that hopefully will allow me to identify my pollinators (bees and Syrphid flies) to species level. This information will be vital in my research project in terms of figuring out what the pollinator abundance and diversity are at each site along an altitudinal gradient, and how it affects the Soapberry fruit production and fruit set along the same gradient.

In addition, I cannot believe how quick this semester has gone by. With a blink of an eye, we are now halfway (6 weeks) into the semester and in about three more months, I will return back to Inuvik and getting ready for field work again!

Photography-wise, it has been a slow month. But here are what I have taken so far.

Feb 2 - There was a transformer leak (or something like that) that caused my apartment building and the nearby campus to be without power for the majority of the day and night. Since our entrance key is using an electronic swipe card, we had no choice except to call security when we want back into the apartment.

While waiting in the dark and freezing evening, I set my Nikon P&S on the garbage bins and took some night shots.


Feb 6 - Took an (almost) full moon shot when I took the garbage out at night.

Feb 14 - Insect identification is a challenging task that I sometimes find is more artistic than scientific. For example, to distinguish some genus, you need to know how many sutures (deepened lines) are found underneath the antenna (called subantennal sutures).

How many sutures do you see through the hairy head of this bee? Beats me!

This is Nomada sp. (Family Apidae) and since it has less hairs on its head, it is a bit easy to see. Here, you should see only one suture (along the dark lines).

Feb 14 - This semester, I am TAing for a first-year course called Current Issues in Biology II. One of the labs we were doing was testing the effect of compounds in smoking cigarettes on cilia movement of mussel gills. The students had to smoke cigarettes through a hookeh, expose the pieces of the gills to the aqueous extract infused with the smoke (one of the most disgusting things ever), and then count the number of cilia beats under different treatments.

A side story was that in the end, I was able to take some left-over (clean) mussels home and cook them.

Buttered Mussels with white wine, cauliflower, nappa cabbages, and celery. One of my fanciest home-cooked meals so far in Peterborough.

Feb 18 - This was taken this morning. February has not been that cold and so most of the snow had melted. But this was the view out the window this morning and is still continuing.

I have to drive my colleague and I to Ottawa tomorrow. Hope the weather is a bit better by then.

I should have more photos and interesting things to show while in (or after) Ottawa, considering it is my first time there and the most eastern part of Canada I have been. It's going to be an exciting trip.

PS - I used ImageShack to host a vast majority of my photos (under one profile). Unfortunately, they just came out with a rule that a free profile can only host 500 images, while I have 2359 photos stored under my profile. This means that many of my old posts will be photo-less by March 1. There's not much I can do since I don't really want to pay for it. So, apologizes in advance.

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