Monthly Archives: February 2013

The joy of failure

The literature about North American Coccinellidae (lady bugs) clearly states that that the larger ???????????????????????????????ones (Coccinellinae) overwinter as adults. For whatever reason, I seem to have a knack for finding lady bug pupae during the winter. I have collected lady pupae in December (with snow on the ground) here in Idaho and had them pupate indoors. I have never collected any in January, February, or March that have yielded adults. At some point, I will stop collecting pupae and bringing them home to rear – but I haven’t reached that point yet! Call it stubborn, stupid, or a combination of the two, but I still feel compelled to try. The pupae in the photos have been indoors for three weeks, many of the pupae that were part of this cohort hard ???????????????????????????????obvious damage and were not viable, but I may try a couple a little longer…

Not everything that a biologist tries, or has hunches about, is correct. I think to myself: how is laying eggs that die before adulthood advantageous? I therefore assume that some of these pupae are viable. Based on the data I have gathered: cold weather came about 7 days too early – game over. Learning is a messy process and failure is one of the instructors.

Of course the hyper curious part of me would love to tear into the equation of time and cold that eventually equals pupal death and I would find it interesting to gather quantitative data on pupae and cold, especially in alpine and subalpine habitats where freezing temperatures can occur at any time. I can save the full inquiry until I win the lottery, until then I will probably just keep collecting pupae.

A tribute to George Sims

I am lucky enough to have several inspirational people in my life. George Sims is one of those

Award presentation, L to R: Sherry Fischer, Paul Calvert, George Sims, Daughter Susan, Mark Van Patten, and Suzy Higgens

Award presentation, L to R: Sherry Fischer, Paul Calvert, George Sims, Daughter Susan, Mark Van Patten, and Suzy Higgens

people. You all should know George from his blogs: Bugs of Booger County and The Ozarkian. I met George at a Missouri Master Naturalist convention and since that time have

George Sims: 2012 Water Conservationist of the Year

George Sims: 2012 Water Conservationist of the Year

been lucky that George has chosen to remain in contact. George Sims is an inspirational person because he has a passion for the natural (and human) world and DONATES a huge amount of his time, money, and energy towards making the world a better place. Foremost in George’s super powers is his good-natured, self-effacing, sense of humor and laissez les bon temps rouler attitude – so not only does George accomplish great things but he (and the people he does things with) has fun doing them.

If you go to Mansfield, MO, you will find the city is pretty much laid out like Bejing. The difference is that instead of murals and statues of Chairman Mao, Mansfield has murals and statues of George Sims surrounding Red Square. Outside of Mansfield George is not as well known, but this is changing. Last week George was recognized by the Conservation Federation of Missouri as the 2012 Water Conservation of the Year for his stream team and Master Naturalist efforts. George can envision the world as a better place and is willing to take action to make the changes happen. Because George is motivated by love he tends to get good results – you can learn a lot from watching George.

Below is the page that the Conservation Federation of Missouri wrote about George for you to read and enjoy. Please read it and consider doing something nice for the planet yourself.



Recently, I have had a manuscript rejected and have been part of a rejected group manuscript. Both will be re-written and resubmitted. There are many reasons for rejecting a manuscript, ultimately the peer review process forces us to higher achievements via the rejection process. As a peer reviewer I have rejected a few manuscripts, so I know the process from both sides. This comic is about the decidedly unfunny aftermath of manuscript rejection. All the usual caveats apply. Remember, these are trained cartoon characters – do not try this at home.


How I became a biologist

My career choices reflect the fact that I have yet to grow up. Most of the people I went through undergraduate studies with have become productive members of society as: doctors, insurance sales-people, business-people, and the like. Last year, I spent most of the months of April, May, June, and July sleeping on the ground which has more in common with homeless folks than it does   Fortune 500 executives. That said, here is another comic: loosely based upon a true story with the names changed to protect the innocent.