15/150: Pretty underwater feather dusters or worms with tentacle eyes? Why not both!

Animalia: Annelida: Polychaeta: Sabellida: Sabellidae: Eudistylia: Eudistylia vancouveri (Kinberg, 1866)

You wouldn’t expect that the beautiful Vancouver feather duster (Eudistylia vancouveri) is a type of worm, but that’s exactly what it is. It belongs to a class of segmented bristle worms called Polychaeta within the family Sabellidae, AKA feather duster worms. They are sedentary marine worms that live in parchment-like tubes made of sediment. Their heads are concealed in a feathery crown of colourful tentacles, called radioles, which are used for respiration and filter feeding. Continue reading “15/150: Pretty underwater feather dusters or worms with tentacle eyes? Why not both!”

6/150: Yellow cedars get cold feet

Plantae: Pinophyta: Pinidae: Pinales: Cupressaceae: Callitropsis: Callitropsis nootkatensis (D. Don, 1824)

One of the oldest known trees in Canada is a Yellow Cedar (Callitropsis nootkatensis), and its estimated age is over 1800 years! Unfortunately the tree was discovered after having been cut down in a clear cut operation in 1980. Continue reading “6/150: Yellow cedars get cold feet”

Beginning to Barcode British Columbia

The summer of 2014 can be said to have been CBG’s busiest field season. Not only was it the final year of the Canadian National Parks (CNP) Malaise Program, but we also focused on concentrated sampling efforts in provincial parks within Ontario and British Columbia (BC). Now that the CNP Program is complete, we were finally able to process some of our BC samples. Continue reading “Beginning to Barcode British Columbia”

DNA barcoding and Malaise traps capture the remarkable diversity in Canada’s National Parks

Hi everyone!

As some of you may know, we here at BIO spend a great deal of our field work sampling in Canada’s beautiful National Parks. In fact, from 2012 to 2014, BIO and Parks Canada partnered up to complete a massive national barcoding project that aimed to map out the country’s arthropod biodiversity: the Canadian National Parks (CNP) Malaise Program. I spent a lot of time planning, organizing, and coordinating this project and am thrilled to finally have results! Continue reading “DNA barcoding and Malaise traps capture the remarkable diversity in Canada’s National Parks”

Visiting Victoria

At the end of October, Gerry Blagoev and I flew across the country to visit the Royal British Columbia Museum (RBCM) in Victoria, British Columbia. We were on a quest for specimens! Identified specimens, that is. Most of the time our collections team is busy finding specimens out in the field and preparing them for DNA barcoding. Once they have a sequence, we determine what the taxonomy of our specimen is based on its sequence. But how do we get to the point where we can determine the taxonomy? How do we know this taxonomy is right? By going to the experts! Continue reading “Visiting Victoria”

It’s a snake, it’s a fly, it’s a snakefly!

Hello again readers! After my Point Pelee adventures, I have now returned to the quieter lab life, processing and sorting insects from private parks and conservation areas around Canada.  So far, I have been processing a lot of different insects from ecological reserves and conservation areas in British Columbia. BC has different climates and habitats than Ontario, and there are some insects that you can find in BC, but you wouldn’t be able to find here. One example of this is the snakefly (Order Raphidioptera), which can be found in places like Alberta and BC.   Continue reading “It’s a snake, it’s a fly, it’s a snakefly!”