The Bug Geek

Insects. Doing Science. Other awesome, geeky stuff.

What’s a laundry room used for when you’re doing field work in the north?

If your answer was “laundry”, I’m so sorry.  It’s been a pleasure having you on the show, thanks so much for playing. 

The correct answer is, of course: Berlese Funnel extractions!

For those of you unfamiliar with these handy devices, here’s the jist of it: you’ve got a bag with a lightbulb on the top end, a funnel leading to a bag of alcohol on the other end and a wire mesh covered in cheese cloth between the two.  On top of the mesh, you deposit a chunk of ground (soil/vegetation).  The ground is damp; small critters like damp earth.  As the lightbulb warms and dries the earth, the damp-liking critters work their way downward to escape the nastiness above, ultimately plunging to their demise in the baggie.  The researcher them collects the contents after a few days, gleefully.   I’ll have this pair of Berleses running most of the summer.  We’ll see what goodies I get!

(“Laundy”. Pffft.  Not.  It’s just going to get wet and muddy again tomorrow anyways.)

6 responses to “What’s a laundry room used for when you’re doing field work in the north?

  1. Ted C. MacRae June 24, 2010 at 10:31 PM

    Okay, so when are we gonna get the summary of what you’re doing there? (Or was I not paying attention). A general invert faunal survey is the best I can gather.

    • TGIQ June 24, 2010 at 11:36 PM

      No, Ted, you pay attention well enough to know that I’m being elusive. Arg. I tell and my anonymity is done (what’s left of it). Generally, yes, it’s a very broad arthropod faunal survey. More specifically, I’m part of a team doing this standarized sampling all over northern Canada. Add to that my own work, which is related to ground fauna and the effects of climate change/warming. Aaak! I’ve said too much!
      But maybe I’ll say more…just not today…

  2. Rachel June 24, 2010 at 10:53 PM

    At least the little guys won’t have a hangover tomorrow. Sounds like a good way to go.

  3. peteryeeles June 25, 2010 at 9:43 PM

    That’s totally the best thing I’ve ever seen hanging in a laundry room!

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