Friday, 30 November 2012

Japanese Journal of Systematic Entomology

I've just recently stumbled across the website for the Japanese Journal of Systematic Entomology, the new name for what was previously known as the Transactions of the Shikoku Entomological Society. I've encountered references to this journal before, but they've only recently made a home for themselves on the internet. They promise that older issues will become freely available, but it's a little early in the piece just yet. Here's hoping they're not too far away, because the contents look rather exciting!

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

PhD week 38: Otago Museum

Loganburn Reservoir, Otago, New Zealand

Last week I had the opportunity to visit Otago Museum. This was something of an achievement, as the museum has a reputation for being difficult to access. I had two days in their collection, looking through the weevil material primarily. I found a good number of Irenimus specimens, including some from some rather exciting and remote locations. However, it was a case of quality over quantity, with most specimens being represented by fairly small series.

While I was in Dunedin I also had the opportunity to go out collecting with a bunch of the AgResearch Invermay crew. We had a very pleasant morning up on the Rock and Pillar plateau, in the vicinity of Loganburn Reservoir. We did a combination of vacuum sampling and soil turves for extraction in the lab. It was a beautiful morning, as well as being a valuable experience for me, experiencing how AgResearch go about their sampling.

I returned from Dunedin in time to catch the big Christchurch Tango weekend, with six milongas over three days, organised by Tangovibe and La Luna. Once it was over, we worked out that we spent 16 hours dancing over the course of the weekend. An excellent way to round off an enjoyable week.

   Brown CG. 2010. What was the Religious Crisis of the 1960s? Journal of Religious History 34(4): 468–479

Ubuntu Forums—Create ISO from USB drive
B & F Papers—Goatskin Parchment

Martin GRR. A Clash of Kings audiobook read by Roy Dotrice

Friday, 23 November 2012

PhD week 37: Cup and Show Week

Not-so-gratuitous picture: The holotype of Sminthurus multidentatus Salmon 1943. Courtesy of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. License: BY-NC-ND.

This past Friday was Canterbury Provincial Anniversary day, better known as Show Day. It is the culmination of a week of festivities, including horse racing events and the Christchurch Agricultural and Pastoral (A & P) show.

All of which passed me by. I keep meaning to attend these exciting events, but each year I manage to find other things to occupy my time more pleasantly or productively. In this case it was spending Wednesday collecting weevils at Lake Coleridge, sorting out insect diets on Thursday, and spending a very enjoyable morning watching birds at Lake Ellesmere on Friday. My obligation to attend these quintessential Cantabrian events shall have to wait until next year (at least).

   McCulloch D. 2010. A History of Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years London: Penguin
   Psalms 138

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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Season 6

Sunday, 11 November 2012

PhD week 36: Summer scholar

Ngutuparore (Wrybill)
Not-so-gratuitous picture: Ngutuparore (Wrybill) Anarhynchus frontalis.
Courtesy of the Biodiversity Heritage Library. Licence: CC: BY-SA-NC.

This week I had the pleasure of hanging out with an enthusiastic undergraduate entomologist who will be working with me over the summer. Lincoln University offers a number of promising undergraduate students employment over the summer, allowing them to gain experience of the research environment. Together, we've worked out a little research project that will involve him attempting to rear the larvae of Irenimus on artificial diets. This is something that I have been rather keen to give a go, but have been unable to devote the time needed to do it, so it will be very interesting to see how it goes.

The first obstacle that we've got to overcome is where to get the larvae. We will be attempting to get them using two methods. The first will be to keep adults in captivity, and hope that the females will eventually lay some eggs. The second will be to get into the field and start digging. This latter task sounds like a job for next week.

   McCulloch D. 2010. A History of Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years London: Penguin
   Psalms 135–137

University of Otago Marine Science—Coordinate transforms Nabble Forum—NZGD2000 to NZGD49
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Pirate Science—Meaningful clusters in trees
Science Daily—World's rarest whale seen for the first time

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Season 6

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

PhD week 35: Central Otago

Cecil Peak and Queenstown Hill
Mt David
Top: Cecil Peak and Queenstown Hill from Coronet Peak. Bottom: Mt David from the summit of Danseys Pass.

Irenimus find their greatest diversity in the rugged landscape of Central Otago, so it was inevitable that I would spend a fair amount of time down those ways over the course of this PhD. This past week I did exactly that—seven days of collecting on the mountains and in the valleys surrounding the towns of Queenstown and Alexandra. We enjoyed beautiful weather, spectacular scenery, warm friendship, and managed to catch a few beetles in between. Everything needed for a most agreeable and memorable week.

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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Season 6