70/150: When you think of Ginseng do you think of Canada? You will after reading this!

Plantae: Magnoliophyta: Magnoliopsida: Apiales: Araliaceae: Panax quinquefolius (Linneaus)

Ginseng is a perennial herb whose root is highly prized and commonly refers to one of two varieties, American Ginseng (P. quinquefolius) or Asian Ginseng (P. ginseng). Both contain ginsenosides, which are the compounds thought to give ginseng its medicinal properties. Continue reading “70/150: When you think of Ginseng do you think of Canada? You will after reading this!”

62/150: I can live in the dirt or in your home, I hitch-hike on insects and mammals alike, and have venomous pincers. What am I?

Animalia: Arthropoda: Arachnida: Pseudoscorpiones: Neobisiidae: Microbisium: Microbisium parvulum (Banks,1895)

Pseudoscorpions are rarely seen but are common arachnids that resemble tiny scorpions with their two large pincers and 8 legs. Unlike scorpions, they are 3 mm in size with no stinger. Using venom glands located on the mobile finger of their pincers they prey upon booklice, ants, mites and small flies. Continue reading “62/150: I can live in the dirt or in your home, I hitch-hike on insects and mammals alike, and have venomous pincers. What am I?”

59/150: Snorkels & Pancakes for World Turtle Day!

Animalia: Chordata: Vertebrata: Reptilia: Testudines: Cryptodira: Trionychidae: Trionychinae: Apalone: Apalone spinifera (Charles Lesueur, 1827)

Spiny softshell turtles have a unique leathery shell which causes them to sometimes be called the pancake turtle! They can reach up to 54 cm and have a distinguishable snorkel like nose that allows them to stay submerged underwater for long periods of time. Continue reading “59/150: Snorkels & Pancakes for World Turtle Day!”

29/150: Save A Spider Day – The Spined Micrathena

animalia: Arthropoda: Arachnida: Araneae: Araneidae: Micrathena: Micrathena gracilis (Walckenaer, 1805)

Micrathena gracilis is a moderately large orb-weaver spider from family Araneidae, commonly known as the spined micrathena. The females are typically black with white markings and have five pairs of black spines which are conical tubercles on the upper side of the abdomen. Continue reading “29/150: Save A Spider Day – The Spined Micrathena”

Ontario BioBlitz at Riverwood Conservancy and the Credit River Watershed

It’s that time of the year again – Ontario BioBlitz time! This year we will be surveying the Credit River Watershed. A number of BIO staff along with researchers, students and citizen scientists are volunteering their time this weekend – June 11 and 12th, 2016 – to try to find as many species as they can. The event is hosted by the Riverwood Conservancy this year, in Mississauga at Riverwood Park. Continue reading “Ontario BioBlitz at Riverwood Conservancy and the Credit River Watershed”

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”

The Real Damsels And Dragons Of Ontario

Hello again faithful readers,

Last week I returned to the BIObus for more aquatic sampling.  This time we visited sites within the Backus Heritage Conservation Area, Long Point Provincial Park, and the Nature Conservancy of Canada (N.C.C.). Today I’ll be talking about the river damselflies that were almost ubiquitous across our sampling areas and some details about our time in Long Point and the N.C.C. Continue reading “The Real Damsels And Dragons Of Ontario”

Plants, Plants, Plants, (and a caterpillar or two)

Hey folks!

Last weekend was a very exciting couple days for me and everyone at BIO.  This was because of the much awaited Bioblitz! For those of you who have never heard of a Bioblitz, I will give you a bit of an explanation.  Continue reading “Plants, Plants, Plants, (and a caterpillar or two)”

Microscope Imaging And Plankton Sampling

After completing the imaging for the Saudi Arabian specimens, we are starting the next material in our queue, the Argentina, Russia, and Costa Rica Global Malaise Projects. Continue reading “Microscope Imaging And Plankton Sampling”

Happily Herping

This past Saturday – as many of you might know – was the Ontario BioBlitz weekend. For those of you that are unfamiliar with the event, the traditional BioBlitz or “blitz” is a 24-hour period in which both trained biologists and citizens scientists try to observe and record as many species as possible in a specific area. After the event these collected observations help to quantify the diversity and abundance of plant and animal species in the selected area to create more focused research and conservation efforts. Continue reading “Happily Herping”