Jessica de Haan recently graduated with an Honours BSc in Biology. The photo shows Jessi and Miriam in their mediaeval finery, and Jessi’s proud dad in the middle.
Jessi has been hanging around in our lab since the spring of 2012, when she worked as a field assistant. She has done everything from watching carpenter bees in observation nests to setting pan traps and curating the resulting gazillions of bee specimens. In the last few months she has been pinning, labelling, databasing and correcting errors in our 10 year database of local bees – at least 40,000 specimens. For this first time, we are completely caught up with our databases, thanks to her efficiency.
Jessi graduated from Brock this autumn, after finishing up her 4th year Honours thesis in the plant ecology lab, which she did while working for us as well. To top it all off, Jessi is also a farm sitter par excellence, for which the denizens of FarrFetched Farm (not to mention the farmers) are exceedingly grateful!
Thanks to the efforts of MSc student, David Awde, and with lots of helpful advice from Sarah Kocher, the L. laevissimum genome project is a go! Now we sit back and wait for the deluge of sequence information that will appear shortly. Any interested students? There’s going to be lots to do!
Sheila Dumesh at York University recently named a new bee species after Cory!
Click here for the story in the Regina Leader-Post.
Andrew Giroux recently finished up a one-year stint in our lab, first completing an undergraduate Honours thesis, then sticking around for the summer as field and lab assistant. His Honours thesis and some of his summer work focussed on microsatellite genotyping of Halictus ligatus, our favourite local sweat bee. This year Andrew is finishing off a combined Biology and Education degree with a year at Teachers’ College.
Andrew’s undergrad research shows that ligatus colonies are even more anarchically “organized” than previously suspected (see Richards et al. 1995, Nature . Occasionally, a queen does manage to monopolize egg-laying, forcing her workers to altruistically forage for the pollen provisions that the queen needs for her own offspring. When this happens, colony structure is classically eusocial. Andrew has now shown that many colonies have multiple queens, queens tend be multiply mated, and many colonies have multiple egg-layers. In many colonies, workers must be more closely related to their own offspring than to the queen’s offspring. Under these circumstances, it pays for them to become selfish reproductives. In fact, under these circumstances, it’s rather surprising that they ever behave altruistically!
A manuscript based on Andrew’s research is in the works, to be submitted this fall, if he can fit it into his busy schedule!
Sandra will soon become a faculty member at the University of New Hampshire. Her position will be in Genome-Assisted Biology (pretty high-falutin’, if you ask me!). Hurray!