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Monthly Archives: October 2010

[photo credits: all me (image 1: necklace – erica weiner, compact – vintage)]

i apologize for my lack of posting over the past week! i’ve been trying to focus on writing and heather organized a “CAGIS” event on saturday of last weekend, so we helped her teach some young girls from the ages of 7-12 about local marine invertebrates! it was lots of fun!

on to the post! some of you might know that i’ve got a strange interest in bees. i really don’t know enough about them to warrant this obsession, but i’m trying my best to learn! i’ve been reading a book called “plan Bee” by susan brackney, loaned to me by my friend amy (sorry i’ve had it for ages, even though its only a 200 page read).

some neat bee facts that i didn’t know before i read this book:
1. “bees are responsible for pollinating 80% of all the plants on the planet.”(i knew the percentage was up there, but i never really realized about how proportionally significant their role actually is…)
2. (i’d had a feeling, but didn’t know for sure) – honey, if cured properly (low moisture content and low pH), will never go “bad”.
3. martha stewart keeps bees. (now why am i not really surprised by that fact? oh martha… how i love you…)
4.  during the world wars, beekeepers were often allowed to dodge being drafted in order to maintain their hives. with the extensive food rationing in place, honey was a popular way to add flavour to the otherwise bland food available, and the demand for beeswax for waterproofing and lubrication of mechanical parts and bullet casings was high.
5. bees can be shipped through the US mail.
6. swarming is actually a non-threatening, natural process undertaken regularly by colonies of bees in order to divide a colony when space becomes limited. the bees prepare to swarm for weeks, as it takes time for the colony to raise a new queen to leave behind at the old colony site.  the old queen will leave with thousands of swarming bees and wait at a new location until scout bees report back to her with their waggle dance about possible new colony sites!

another thing i like to do, is collect deceased bumblebees during the spring (i’ve read somewhere that this is death after emergence from hibernation, and read elsewhere that they are males that have died after reproducing?). whatever the reason for their passing, i collect these bees and keep them in specimen jars on my desk at work. morbid perhaps, but i find them beautiful and peaceful to look at.  another thing i like to collect is bee jewelry/pretty things. i love my bee necklace by erica weiner, and my vintage bee compact that my mom bought me as my bridal shower gift. i like my bees.

[photos all taken by me, photo 4: lion’s mane jellyfish cyanea capillata, photo 5: anemone tealia/urticina sp., photo 6: orange peel nudibranch tochulina tetraquetra eating orange sea pen ptilosarcus gurneyi, photo 7: china rockfish sebastes nebulosus]
we had a neat time at the shaw ocean discovery centre in sidney, bc today! i was invited by heather, kylee and dawna to join their field trip with the invertebrate zoology class that i used to be a teaching assistant for in past years. i’d never been to the discovery centre before, and its a very neat place!  quite a bit smaller than the vancouver aquarium, but it has some beautiful displays and tanks full of local species, microscopes set up over specimens and a great touch tank at the end of the galleries!  i’m sure as the years progress, it will gain more attention and funding and become quite a spectacular space!
we saw lots of neat invertebrates (and vertebrates) including a spectacularly huge orange peel nudibranch (nudibranch or sea slug, photo 4) eating its staple favourite, an orange sea pen (ptilosarcus)! it was almost a foot long! we also got a chance to see a female octopus tending to strings of eggs that she had laid in her den in one of the overhead tanks! very cool!
we also ran into some great friends of mine and my parents, ted and dana and their daughter (a neat new friend of mine), sarah, who is visiting from tokyo! all in all a great day out!
[photo credits: all me.]

these are only a few of the amazing specimens that i’ve come across in my short walk through the forest to my office at uvic! i wish i knew what they all are! i’ve been eyeing this field guide “mushrooms demystified” by david arora, for years after i used it in chapters to identify the top image of the coral fungi, but have never actually bought the book! now that i have all these photos of these neat mushrooms and fungi, i might have to invest…