This has been, by far, the most eventful summer I have had at BIO. My last summer here, in 2014, I was deployed on the BIObus for our trip out west and got so see some pretty amazing things, but this year has been far more jam-packed. I have been out in the field for a variety of reasons this summer.
Earlier in the summer, when I was on the BIObus, we were conducting aquatic sampling and soil invertebrate sampling (two groups we hadn’t ever focused on before). It was an amazing learning experience working with new kinds of traps, new kinds of procedures for collecting and storing, and not to mention fun to be working on something we hadn’t tried before. I got to go to a park I had always wanted to go to, and visit a conservation area that I’d never heard of. Both exceeded expectations. They were beautiful and diverse in their ecology and the pictures we got were amazing.
I then had the opportunity to work side-by-side with Kareina and Dan doing freshwater mussel sampling. We were teamed up with the expert mussel collectors from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) who were doing their own studies on mussel size and habitat relations, and who were super encouraging. We learned from them about the most common types of mussels in the rivers we were sampling, how to set up a mussel sampling site, and how to care for the mussels while we worked out our sampling process. It was a unique learning experience and I am excited to work with them all again soon.
Then shortly after that I began helping out occasionally with rare Charitable Research Reserve’s sampling. I had a few good days of hiking through beautiful wildflower fields to collect bucket traps, service malaise traps and pitfalls. We were sampling and scoping out all the locations in which we could bring experts on the day of the upcoming bioblitz we were hosting. I’d never been to a bioblitz, so being one of the main collectors and sorters for the day was pretty amazing. Watching people come out to do science is always fun and we upped the rare’s species count by over 1000 species!
And just when I thought things couldn’t get any more interesting, the University of Guelph hosted the 6th International Barcode of Life Conference. BIO suddenly became a whirlwind of activity while we tried to finish all of our rare processing and imaging, clean up the lab (during active fieldwork), make sure we had interesting demonstrations for people during tours and other such things.
This summer has been the wildest and wackiest so far, but I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. I’m back in the fall as a work study student so hopefully, you’ll all hear from me again soon!