This week I received the great news that Madeleine Thom will be joining me this summer to work on sperm competition in giraffe weevils. Madeleine has been awarded an UoA summer studentship which gives her a couple of months of paid fun to come and hang out with me in the lab and field. Madeleine will be kicking off the first work on sperm competition in the giraffe weevil, in particular addressing how males of different sizes allocate sperm, and whether there are any differences in their sperm morphology. I’m really curious to see what Madeleine finds out.
While Madeleine has things under control on the giraffe weevil front, I’ll be heading off across the country in search of harvestmen. This is the beginning of our project on weapon variation in this group, and one of my main aims this season will be to find good spots to observe the behaviour of a whole bunch of different species. I’ll also be doing several collecting missions to bring back harvestmen to the lab where I can look more closely at chelicerae (jaw) shape and size variation, so that we can start to piece together patterns of weapon evolution among the NZ long-legged harvestmen.
I’m particularly excited about going here:
Should be an above average summer I reckon. Oh and if you’ve ever wondered where the term ‘field work’ (which you’ve probably heard many ecologists use to contrast data collection outdoors vs experimentation in the lab) came from, check out this fun blog.
Have a productive and fun field season ahead southern hemispherites!