Skulls and squiggly things

Back in February, we went to the Beaty Biodiveristy museum (pro tip – free admission for UBC employees and students) and here are some pictures. Warning, there are dead squiggly things in jars in this post (and even more at the Flickr Set).

Display: Red, Green, Dead Birds
Sea snake in a jar
Sea snake in a jar. Perfect Seal
Mountain Goat, Reflection
Mountain Goat, Reflection
Squiggly things
The Owls are Judging You
The Owls are Judging You
Life Matrix
The matrix of life, from Day 0 on.
Black Tailed Deer
Black Tailed Deer
Blue Whale Skeleton
Blue Whale Skeleton


Canada Day 2011 Long Weekend

The number of unfinished posts in my Dashboard is truly sad. Here’s one now.

Looking back, I tend to do a thing on Canada Day (2008, 2010). This year, I made a weekend of it.


On Friday (an overcast day), I biked around the Richmond Dyke. One word: Noseeums.

This thistle was the only sign of colour for miles.
Belted Galloway cattle grazing on the Richmond Dyke
Then then there’s this dude who grazes his Belted Galloway cattle on the Richmond Dyke. How’s that for random?
Caution Banded Cows
He even has a WARNING BELTED COWS warning sign on the path.


Hark, a Red Thing
Then in Steveston, there is this on a hill


Up Close with "Olas de Viento"
Up Close and Red

I ended the day on the False Creek seawall.

Urban Gardening
Tree in a bag


Then in Saturday, I took the Seabus to the North Shore. Because. Not a lot of interesting shots.

Exit This Side
Exit This Side

And Sunday. I went downtown.

Abandoned Pants
Abandoned Pants
Danger Sharks
Downtown Alley
Sun over Alley

Science! Salmon boom after underwater volcano boom

I love science, because it makes sense. here’s a story that makes science sense:

CBC:  Volcanic eruption led to B.C. salmon boom: scientist

A volcanic eruption might have helped produce B.C.’s largest sockeye salmon run since 1913.

The 34 million salmon that returned to B.C.’s Fraser River this year were “adolescents” in the Gulf of Alaska when the underwater Kasatochi volcano erupted there in 2008, said Tim Parsons, a research scientist at the Institute of Ocean Sciences in Sidney, B.C.

The ash from that eruption fertilized the ocean, leading to a massive bloom of special phytoplankton called diatoms — an unusually rich source of food for the growing salmon.

Read more:

The funnest thing about this story is that it makes such total sense if you have an understanding of the fundamentals of oceanography. One of the limiting factors in phytoplankton growth in all oceans (where there is sufficient oxygen – O is the ultimate limiting factor with life on earth (except when it’s not)) is iron and other nutrients that are found in great grand quantity in volcanic ash.

Sun on the Water
This way lies the ocean.

Plants! That! Maim!

Globe and Mail: Giant weed that can cause blindness popping up in Ontario, B.C.

Money Quote:

While it may look bewildering — almost begging to be examined by an amateur botanist or a green thumb — the consequences of touching the weed could scar a person for life.

“The sap gets activated by sunlight, so once you get out on the sun it reacts and can cause really bad burns, blistering and scars,” said Mr. Muzzi.

It has also been known to cause temporary blindness or, in extreme cases, permanent loss of eyesight, said Mr. Muzzi.

As they say in the lab, sweet jesus.

bye fish

‘Sobering’ Decline Of Caribbean’s Big Fish, Fisheries: Overfishing Deemed Most Likely Cause

Sharks, barracuda and other large predatory fishes disappear on Caribbean coral reefs as human populations rise, endangering the region’s marine food web and ultimately its reefs and fisheries, according to a sweeping study by researcher Chris Stallings of The Florida State University Coastal and Marine Laboratory. More…

Dead zones and poisonous octopods

All Octopuses Are Venomous: Could Lead To Drug Discovery

Once thought to be only the realm of the blue-ringed octopus, researchers have now shown that all octopuses and cuttlefish, and some squid are venomous. The work indicates that they all share a common, ancient venomous ancestor and highlights new avenues for drug discovery.

Ocean Dead Zones Likely To Expand: Increasing Carbon Dioxide And Decreasing Oxygen Make It Harder For Deep-sea Animals To Breath

New calculations made by marine chemists from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) suggest that low-oxygen “dead zones” in the ocean could expand significantly over the next century. These predictions are based on the fact that, as more and more carbon dioxide dissolves from the atmosphere into the ocean, marine animals will need more oxygen to survive.