Summer Progress (part 1)

Summer is here. Well even though it’s either raining/pouring and cool or very hot and humid it’s still summer. I find myself pondering about how to make the best of it. If you read my last post, you saw that I’m busily writing/trying to write my thesis and papers with the hope of submitting by December (fingers crossed). Actually it’s been going well even with the few kinks but not many.

The Forbes lab has moved into another building. It’s taking some time to unpack and get used the new place, but other than the boxes, there are few distractions so I can focus on writing.

I had a paper accepted, so that’s another chapter of my thesis that will be published. It’s very rewarding that your hard work pays off. I will soon write another post about that paper – it’s exciting stuff!

Celithemis elisa

Celithemis elisa

Libellula luctuosa

Libellula luctuosa

very parasitized Erythemis simplicicollis

very parasitized Erythemis simplicicollis

Figure 1: Some of the dragonflies seen in Yzerinac pond                                              (from top: Libellula luctuosa, Erythemis simplicicollis, Celithemis elisa and a young Sympetrum obtrusum)

a young Sympetrum obtrusum

Other than writing, my summer, so far, has been pretty quiet with a few events that help me focus. I have been out in the field, at the Queen’s University Biological Station, twice. Once, I helped collected ticks. I learned a lot about ticks and apparently we are lucky here, in eastern Ontario, because black-legged ticks aren’t in high abundance. We collected 13 Ixodes scapularis (black-legged tick) and 13 Dermecentor variabilis (dog tick) ticks during the whole day. The second time, I, along with Laura Nagel, Andre Morrill and Victoria Putinsky, collected Arrenurus planus or another Arrenurus sp. from as many host individuals as possible from Yzerinac pond (dragonfly pictures) for potential barcoding. We also collected Limnochares americana from Hebert bog (picture below) for behavioral studies that Laura wants to do. We had success on both fronts! We collected Arrenurus spp. off of six dragonfly hosts and ten female L. americana that will hopefully lay eggs. Of course the bad side was that I also collected a dog tick that day which embedded in my side. It now resides in my tick vial (full of 95% ethanol) on my desk.

Hebert Bog

Hebert Bog

I have also been fortunate to be able to go hiking on day trip to New Hampshire (The Horn), Vermont (Mt Mansfield) and New York (St Regis and Debar Mountains). Hiking a trail allows me to think and put my projects in perspective. It also allows me to make connections and see whether what I have learned from my thesis so far, can help me answer the questions I come up with on the hike. Plus the views great and it’s just a pleasure to be alive.

I also went camping, for a weekend to Sharbot Lake Provincial Park, where I took my dog out in her first canoe. She did well, next time the canoe trips will be longer. One of the highlights of that camping trip was the fireflies. There were so many on the slopes by the beach that it was an exciting natural light show.

I guess the point I’m trying to make is that even though I have a lot of work to do, try to find the time to relax and to do things that help you calm down and enjoy life. Don’t get me wrong, my thesis and my projects are extremely rewarding but everybody needs a break every now and then.

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