Friday, March 31, 2006

Beaver Spit

Warning... the following contains serious bio-nerd material.

I love Fridays, not because it means the school week is over, but because it means plant systematics lab! Yesterday in class my professor was talking about pollination mechanisms. Orchids are particularly interesting: one species has evolved such that the insect drinks its fermented liquid, becomes intoxicated, slides down the flower and picks up some pollen along the way. Another species is slightly bee-shaped and shakes in the wind on thin stems, resembling a swarm of bees. Other bees see this, get mad at it and attack, pollinating the plant in the process.

Back to today... the weather here is unbelievably warm. People have come out of the woodwork and are sprawled across campus in sunglasses and their summer skivvies. For lab we went to the Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary. What could be better than hiking through the woods on a sunny afternoon while botanizing? Well, maybe getting to see woodfrogs mate. They make loud duck-like sounds during the process which can be heard from hundreds of feet away..

While hiking along the trail, one of my classmates pointed out a tree that had been partially chewed by beavers. The chewed area appeared wet and sticky, and I excitedly thought "Oh cool! We're hot on the trail of beavers - the bark is still wet with their saliva!". This only to feel really stupid when my professor pointed out that it was sap flowing from the tree.

After the field trip, my classmate Allie and I decided to go kayaking on paradise pond. It was beautiful... what else can I say?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Just finished prepping for a meeting and was about to go online to empty my Blackberry account when I was sidetracked from another item in my " favorites" and so I caught up on your activities on your blog. Love reading this !!!!
This weekend I will be starting over 250 bulbs of my own and I invite you to come by when you get home to see them!
Take care and enjoy every minute!