Grant Writing: Are You Listening?

Grant writing is a new thing for me, so you should take all my advice with a grain of salt – but this is one piece I think might be worth considering. Grant writing isn’t really a big, scary exercise in writing and self-promotion (well, I mean, it is that too) but more importantly it’s an exercise in listening. But who are we listening to? To answer this, we must think about who are we in conversation with as we write our grants. There can be several answers to this question – and several audiences for you to consider. The Grant Read more…

Biopoetics: Input Segregation

A huge thank you to, first, Palaver Magazine for publishing this piece here on page 79, and then for Poetry in Data for also publishing this piece here (you can listen to the poem here). I must also acknowledge Dr. Wulfila Gronenberg, as this is a found poem sourced from his 1999 paper: Modality-Specific Segregation of Input to Ant Mushroom Bodies. All of the words in this poem were found in the various sections of Dr. Gronenberg’s paper and – as is the case with all found poetry – it is the essence of the source that provides the true poetic inspiration. This paper is Read more…

Bee Bytes: Can you #WildID a Bee?

On Twitter, nature-lovers will send scientists photos of an animal asking for a #WildID – or species identification. But can you #WildID a bee? The answer: sometimes yes (but usually no).   Often bees of the same genera will look very similar (for example these two different species of male Agapostemon):               And sometimes, two bees of the same species will look very different (like the abdominal coloration of these two female Augochloropsis metallica):               This makes telling a bee’s species from a photo very difficult; sometimes the features Read more…

Bee Bytes: Bombus franklini

  Endangered. Social. Narrow Range.   Status: Critically Endangered, last recorded in 2006 by Dr. Robbin Thorp Name: Franklin Bumble bee Family: Apidae (with: honey bees, carpenter bees) States: Oregon and California B. franklini has experienced a sharp decline since 1998, and has not been spotted in the wild for over a decade, earning itself a spot on the critically endangered species list and a spot as the Bee Bytes mascot. It also has one of the most narrow distributions for a bumble bee in the world. The yellow half of the thorax (closer to the head) with an inverse U Read more…

Caste Differences in Wasp Brains

My first co-author published paper came out this summer in Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, and I’m (no surprise) very excited. The paper, the foundation for the kind of work I want to do in my PhD, is titled: Caste Differences in the Mushroom Bodies of Swarm-Founding Paper Wasps: Implications for Brain Plasticity and Brain Evolution (Vespidae, Epiponini), authored by Sean O’Donnell, Susan J Bulova, Sara De Leon, Meghan Barrett, and Katherine Fiocca. If you haven’t left me after the long title, that’s a good sign – let’s take a quick jog back to our eusocial basics! A eusocial colony has several different Read more…

Introducing “Bee Bytes”!

Welcome to Bee Bytes, a #scicomm project to introduce bees to the public! What is Bee Bytes? Bee Bytes will be a weekly to biweekly series on my blog, where I write “bite-sized” posts about an invasive or native bee species in the United States, describing its distribution, taxonomic relationship, and a few fun facts in brief! Each post will be 256 words or less – the number of unique characters you can represent with just one ‘byte’ (and exactly as long as this post). The end will have extra resources, in case you want to look for more about Read more…

The Evidence that Scientists Don’t Believe

Scientists are big on evidence; after all, we’ve each been trained (in our own highly specialized field) to accept nothing unless evidence shows – beyond a very high statistical cut off – that the particular thing in question is likely a real phenomena. And even then, we are trained to say that the evidence ‘supports’ that particular phenomena, not that it ‘proves’ it. All of this shows that we should have a very high threshold for skepticism, and a huge disapproval of ‘anecdata’ – that is, the ‘data’ of our personal experiences, not supported by evidence. Scientists abhor when the general population Read more…

Biopoetics: Comma after Late Budbreak…

A big thank you to The Trumpeter for publishing this poem, Comma after Late Budbreak: Defoliation by an Invasive Pear, here (listen to it here)! This is another poem in my sugar maple cycle, which deals with a pest – pear thrips – which can pose a real threat to sugar maple trees as they leave ‘Budbreak‘. Pear thrips (Taeniothrips inconsequens) are very tiny, around 1.5 mm, thin, striped brown bugs with a hairy fringe that are invasive to the United States and damage the leaves of sugar maple (and other) trees. Sugar maples are noted to be attacked most frequently and severely. Pear thrips were introduced Read more…

Biopoetics: Acerum on Fomalhaut b

A big thank you to The Trumpeter for publishing this poem here (listen to it here). This biopoetics may be a bit of a cop-out but there is a reason for it – promise! This poem was the beginning. My first – ever – poem that combined science and poetry. What you see in this poem is something that desperately needs unpacking; something beautiful on its own, which gains additional power upon explanation. So why won’t I explain it? I have. Acerum on Fomalhaut b was the inspiration for the following poems (with their biopoetics linked if available): Acer saccharum Dicotyledons Deepnight Sapriver Budbreak Read more…

Biopoetics: Deepnight

A big thank you to Palaver magazine for publishing this poem; you can read it here (pg 75) or hear me read it aloud here. Deepnight is another poem in my sugar maple cycle; when I first began working on this poetry series and thinking about trees more deeply, I came to the conclusion that trees wouldn’t obey our seasons. So I created what I thought were important ‘seasons’ for trees: Sunleaves, Deepnight, Sapriver, Budbreak, and Windborne. Deepnight occurs after the trees shed all their leaves and enter a state of dormancy until the days become longer and warmer again. While Sunleaves tells Read more…