R-rhyme for an unproductive evening

For want of a comma, the index was lost
For want of an index, the matrix was lost 
For want of a matrix, the output was lost 
For want of an output, my evening was lost. 
Could have been worse...

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Rapid initial recovery and long-term persistence of a bee community in a former landfill

We’re having an Andy Warhol day!  First, a nice piece in the Brock News about our recent paper on 10 years (yes, ten!) of bee monitoring at the Glenridge Quarry Naturalization Site.  Then some tweeting, including from NSERC and Canada’s Science Minister.  That’s quite exciting!

A lot of people contributed to this work over the years, especially Tom Onuferko, who identified a lot of bees, and Dimitri Skandalis, who crunched a lot of numbers.

Onuferko first page


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Dave and new RNA-Seq data, complete with certificate of authenticity and a cute little box to keep the data in!

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Yellow-faced bee on goldenrod

IMG_0422 cropped Hylaeus goldenrod

One of the last bees in our garden was this tiny little yellow-faced bee (Hylaeus), foraging on goldenrod in mid-September.  The bee loves the goldenrod.  Me, too.   I don’t really understand why so many people dismiss such beautiful blossoms as mere weeds.

IMG_0424 cropped Hylaeus

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Look up – waaaay up….

There’s a bumblebee on one of these giant sunflowers in our garden (4 m tall!).   She was a big one – you can see her even though she was up there! IMG_0906.jpgIMG_0909.jpg

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Pan-trapping Day 3, Year 14 (!!!)

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Recommended read: THE KEPLER CODE by Paul McKay


I’m a biologist who studies bee behaviour and ecology, and I love well written books with actual plots, so this sci-fi novel was right up my alley.  Set in a future time that might not be as distant as we could wish, when bees and butterflies and bird song have disappeared, a group of biologists and environmental scientists have formed a secret, underground resistance group who seek the “Kepler Code”, secrets embedded in nature and music that might just save us all.  Great read that kept me up late, which doesn’t happen often anymore (not since Harry Potter, at least)!  Given recent events, I hope there’s a real Kepler Code somewhere.

The book’s genesis also has a great back story.  The bee theme is not accidental.  Peter Mackay sponsored a “Save the Bees” lecture tour about the dangers of neonicotinoid pesticides to bees,  in cooperation with the Sierra Club in 2015.  I gave a talk at the Niagara whistle stop on this tour, and Peter gave me an autographed copy of his book.  You can buy a copy on Amazon. And you can find out more about Peter at his website.

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