This blog has been quiet for the past couple of months. “Pupation” would be an appropriate entomological metaphor. “Hiding in a foxhole” might be an equally appropriate military metaphor. Mostly I’ve been juggling (metaphorical) chainsaws, as is traditional each year as the winter teaching term gives way to summer research planning. That transition seemed particularly busy this year as the winter term taxed my frail time management abilities to their limit. In addition to teaching my annual Evolution and Phylogeny course to a big class of 95 students, there were a few manuscripts being wrapped up (more on these in future posts), a couple of M.Sc. theses being wrapped up (more on these in a future post), and the usual flurry of administrative duties (I shall not blog of these).
After a three-day flurry of final exam grading in mid-April, I flew off to Arizona for a very different teaching experience — our Desert Ecology field course, a three week trip through the deserts of Arizona and southern California with 4 staff, 20 students, 1 truck, 1 trailer, 3 minivans, 13 tents, an unspecified but enormous amount of food, and a mountain of field guides, notebooks and cameras. This was my first time being involved with this field course and it was both great fun and a great break from the normal day-to-day routine of my job. Even though I was still “teaching”, it felt more like “learning”. I’d been to these deserts before, but never in the midst of such a concentration of curiosity and excitement and expertise from so many people.
But now that I’m back in the lab, it’s time to turn my attention to the joys of summer — planning research fieldwork (we’ll be chasing flies this year from the Yukon tundra to Quebec peatlands), thinking about conferences and other trips, writing some papers, and watching some students wrap up their projects and move on as others move into new roles in the lab.
And now that I’ve (hopefully) broken my diapause, a few more posts should find their way onto this blog in the near future. In the meantime, you can read a little more about our Desert Ecology field trip, from the perspective of both students and staff, at our desert ecology blog. Or, for lighter fare, how about some arthropod poems?