Happy Darwin Day!

Today is Charles Darwin’s 206th birthday, and the whole museum is in the best mood! We even have a cake contest in the afternoon. YESSS.

I did not bring a cake, because I had a swordfighting class last night. I am regretting not making a cake though, because I have a kick-ass idea for a cake focusing on eyes…. Get it? Focusing?

Anyway – click through the pangolin cake for the gallery of rad cakes from previous years.

Pangolin Echidna cake

The never ending poop saga…

Should I just have a category for poop stories? Maybe I should.

Anyway. My great friend Kaylee gave a talk at the museum yesterday about parasites, which means poop. And more poop.

If snails just quit eatin’ poop, we’d get those parasites outta there.

One cycle that stuck out for me is outlined in the image above. Check out Parasitophilia for a thorough description of this amazing life cycle. Fluke> eggs> cowpoop> snailsnack> cercaria> snail slime> antsnack> metacercaria> BRAIN CONTROL> grass> cowsnack.

Oh the life of a parasite.

What’s your favourite poop saga?

Speaking on Wednesday, April 16

Speaking on Wednesday, April 16

I hope you can come and check out my talk!

Let’s talk about sex – plant sex! Compared to the world of seed plants, human sex lives are relatively “vanilla”. Sessile, and separated by metres or miles, plant partners usually need assistance to reproduce sexually. This dependence on external collaborators has created extraordinary reproductive strategies including sensory trickery towards animals, releasing pollen en masse (how messy!), and even the frustratingly lonely self-fertilization. Over thousands and millions of years, these strategies have evolved, ensuring species resilience, genetic diversity, and survival in dramatically challenging landscapes. Discover how plants manipulate, trick, and use tools to help in the need to create seeds.

Bio: Nicole Balsdon currently works at the Beaty Biodiversity Museum at UBC; she loves spreading her passion for science to people of all ages, particularly the messy world of biology. When she isn’t getting strangely close to plants, she enjoys cooking and baking, most notably convincing yeast and other microbes to work on beverages and breads in her kitchen. She holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Alberta, and has worked for Alberta Environment and the U of A Herbarium.