Last week, Laurence Packer visited our department to deliver a seminar about close encounters with extreme bees. These bees live in extreme environments, like the Atacama Desert in Chile, usually the driest place on earth. Many of the bees Laurence has collected, described, and studied in Chile are only a few mm long – if you stood them on their hind ends, they could keep their heads above water even if the average yearly rainfall happened all at once. It’s amazing that flowers bloom or bees survive in such places.
Laurence was my PhD supervisor at York, long enough ago that we can now count the time in decades. It’s a delight to still be able to learn from him. And also a delight to have persuaded him and spouse Gail Fraser to stick around for a day, talking about birds, bees, university politics, and lots of other interesting topics, not to mention a careful evaluation of several Niagara wineries!