Sunday, February 28, 2016

Biologizing on the Relay for Heat

I did the Relay for Heat this weekend and it was the most pleasant weather I've experienced for the relay. It was cool to cold but no snow and ice or winds that would blow you off the levee. We logged over 100 miles and I did my 4... very slowly. Achilles is still not 100% (after 16 months!) and I don't want to blow them out before the Galapagos trip. 

I always get a bird-of-prey on the walk and this iteration of the relay didn't disappoint. A Red-tailed Hawk being harassed by crows came by and then at the very end a Cooper's Hawk flew by. No eagles or falcons. So it goes. River was way up so no mergansers or diving ducks but there were Mallards and Canada geese in the flooded woods. Coolest thing was an Eastern Bluebird and Downy Woodpecker fussing at each other. There was a stonefly emergence too. 

Monday, February 22, 2016

Saying good-bye to a pet: Indie 2002-2016

We put down our border-collie mix rescue dog today. He was a fabulous dog and will be missed. 

Sunday, February 21, 2016

On deck: week of 2/22

Study Abroad

  • come up with medical waiver 
  • meet with EF Tour representative 
  • call interested high school students
  • schedule meeting with provost
Bio department
  • Finish off math/stat competencies 
  • schedule meeting with math and cs dept
  • grade biostat exams
  • work on biostats lectures and homework (crap.. should do that tonight)
  • read more Darwin for Galapagos trip
  • write 4 or 5 letters of recommendation 
  • deposit gifted money with school
  • figure out what to do with March WEBS lab
  • dream about Northeast Pennsylvania Science Center
  • schedule mist-netting for Hazelton STEM program at Nescopeck

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Study abroad baby steps

I'm going to start by second week of being the study abroad director. Still trying to grasp how all the parts fit together. 

Just sent emails to our three students studying abroad: two in Ireland and one in Spain. 

This past week we hosted the Panamanian Minister of Education and on Friday has Panamanian Cultural Day - I was hoping for food (of course) but there was dancing (I didn't partake). 

This week meeting with a faculty member that goes to Spain and I'll also start checking out the strategic plan. 

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Asa Gray's 1860 review of Origin of the Species

Asa Gray was one of the USA's foremost botanist of the time and corresponded with Darwin before the publication of Origin and became friends through letters. Unsurprising then, that the review in The Atlantic is largely favorable. I love the language and Gray is a skilled writer. I didn't know that Darwin's nemesis Sir Richard Owen claimed to have come up with a better theory of species origins. 

One of things I stress in BIO 225 is the power of congruence between theories and Gray reiterates this: Lyell's gradualism (though Lyell wasn't the originator) meshes incredibly well with Darwin's theory. Alternative explanations, such as creationism, would need to mesh into Lyell or would need to rewrite geology and biology. Good luck with that. 

Monday, February 8, 2016

Local raptors on the move.

My poor dog has bad hips so we only go around the block these days. So local birding has gone way down. Yesterday I lucked about and picked up a Cooper's Hawk, Sharp-shinned, and a Red-tailed Hawk.

Today I had my first campus Common Raven while eating in the cafeteria and a Bald Eagle back at the office. 

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Moving tropical mammals

It's been a good two weeks for tropical mammals. 

There's the report of El Jefe, a male jaguar roaming in Arizona

And now there's a report of bush dogs in Panama and apparently their number are up. 

I hope these are trends and not just more detections from a huge number of game cameras. 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Urban ecology: potter wasps

Found this on Ruby the red maple I planted last year between the sidewalk and road. Something very cool about critters colonizing these trees that are no more than a few cm in diameter and maybe 3 m tall. 

Potter wasps are a huge group so I won't venture a species here but this nest is about 1.5 cm wide. I would venture that something like a chickadee pecked away at it.