77/150: Mapleleaf Mussel – Important environmental indicators of Canadian Rivers and Lakes

Animalia: Mollusca: Bivalvia: Unionoida: Unionidae: Ambleminae: Quadrula: Quadrula quadrula (Rafinesque, 1820)

The Mapleleaf mussel is a freshwater mussel found in North America. Mapleleaf mussels are a threatened species in Ontario since 2008 and have completely disappeared from Lake Erie, Detroit and Niagara rivers. The main threats to this species are habitat destruction, invasive Zebra mussels from Europe and any conditions which threaten their host fish, the Channel Catfish. Continue reading “77/150: Mapleleaf Mussel – Important environmental indicators of Canadian Rivers and Lakes”

76/150: Find out why the Grey Jay is Canada’s new National Bird!

Animalia: Chordata: Aves: Passeriformes: Corvidae: Perisoreus: Perisoreus canadensis (Linnaeus, 1766)

The Grey Jay (P. canadensis) is a songbird from the Family Corvidae, also sometimes called the Canada Jay or Whiskey Jack, derived from the Indigenous name Wisakedjak. The Grey Jay is considered one of the smartest birds in the world along with other Corvids who display the ability to make tools and play complex social games even as youngsters. The Grey Jay uses its intelligence to hoard thousands of pieces of food throughout the summer so that it can last through the winter without migrating, proving it has an exceptional memory. Continue reading “76/150: Find out why the Grey Jay is Canada’s new National Bird!”

75/150: Old bold and sweet, the Sugar Maple

Plantae: Magnoliophyta: Magnoliopsida: Sapindales: Acer: Acer saccharum (Marshall)

Wow! Can you believe we’re half way through our 150 posts about biodiversity?

As you wear your red and white today, bearing the proud red maple leaf, you may wonder why a leaf? Why this leaf? In 1964, the well-known red and white Canada flag was adopted as our official flag. Dr. George Stanley, the creative designer behind the flag, based the design off the Royal Military College’s flag, where he worked as the dean of arts. The leaf that is represented on the flag is from the famous Sugar maple, a staple tree in Canadian history and our national tree.

Continue reading “75/150: Old bold and sweet, the Sugar Maple”

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”