The Bug Geek

Insects. Doing Science. Other awesome, geeky stuff.

Wherein I celebrate a talk, cry over natural history, and do new things to this blog

I am finally back from conference-madness-land.  The annual Entomological Society of Canada meeting wrapped up in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Wednesday.  To summarize:

1. It was super-fun and my brain is full of ideas and delicious nerdspeak.

2. I am super-stoked that I gave my first talk as a PhD student and I didn’t get boo-ed off the stage; not bad for having a data set of, oh, about ZERO ENTRIES less than a month ago, and for having frantically finished making my last slides the morning of the talk (this is not something I plan to make a habit of, because it is nauseatingly stressful). I am highly motivated to make next year’s talk awesome.

3. I am super-depressed by the tsunami-like wave of molecular biology sweeping over the ento research world, because it seems to be crushing every last little terrified, clinging speck of natural history work to smithereens.

Since when are genes more interesting than the animals to which they belong? *LONG DEEP SIGH*

 (Note: Morgan at Biodiversity In Focus tweeted about this Natural History Network today. It is freaking out my web browser for some reason, but when that settles down I hope to hear some good news about this subject. )

Acorn weevil taking off (Curculio sp.)

A weevil (a photo taken at BugShot). Entirely more awesome than a SNP. Amirite?

Anyhoo. You may have noticed something a little different around here: the blog formerly known as “Fall To Climb” is henceforth the domain (figuratively and literally) of “The Bug Geek“.  Also, I was a very nice person and made your lives easier by linking my old blog name to this one, so you don’t even have to update your readers (you’re welcome), but you can (but no pressure).

I am going to be messing around with the layout and things a little over the next few weeks, so bear with me if things are glitchy or stupid-looking.

Now, first things first: blogroll update. I’ve been meaning to do this for a while and just haven’t gotten around to it. Since attending BugShot 2011, I have added a number of fun new bug blogs (some of which belong to BugShot attendees) to my blog reader, but haven’t yet mentioned them here. Some may be old news to you, but just in case: – bug photographs and photog tips by Scott – more bug photos, with bonus natural history (yay!), and a dash of general geekery, by fellow (undergrad) student Alex Webb – portraits of insects with dreamy, beautiful, natural light by Rick Lieder  – great photos and field notes by Charley Eisman – bugs and other critters in the Ozarks, by George Sims (he gets bonus points for getting the words “bugs” and “booger” in the same domain!) – bug photos from Edmonton, Alberta, TONS of natural history, referenced literature … swoon! – “Bug Squad” – a great new bug blog out of U California Agriculture and Natural Resources, by Kathy Keatley Garvey

If I’m missing anybody, let me know! I hope you all find something new and fun to enjoy here 🙂

Edited to add: Forgot one! It’s got beetles!  Awesome beetles! By Jon!

Ooh, found another! – Great photos, natural history, from the UK!

15 responses to “Wherein I celebrate a talk, cry over natural history, and do new things to this blog

  1. Lee November 11, 2011 at 10:19 AM

    Molecular biology is an interesting thing that you can use to answer questions about organisms, and I like it for that! I don’t get the people who do entirely molecular stuff, and couldn’t tell you the first thing about their organism’s actual natural history … seems like they might be missing something crucial when they go to interpret their data.

    • TGIQ November 13, 2011 at 8:27 PM

      So, I’m hearing you say, “good tool, but not the end-all-and-be-all”. Maybe this is how I need to approach it. But yes, I get quite distressed seeing people who really don’t know a thing about their model organisms outside of the lab…

  2. Ted C. MacRae November 11, 2011 at 11:57 AM

    I like the name and commend you on your choice to own your own domain. I wish I’d done it when I made the move to WordPress (and may still now that it looks like I’ll be around for the long haul).

    There were actually two blogs in your list that I was unaware of – must correct that situation immediately.

    Molecular biology – it’s a love/hate thing. Use it for the tools and insight it offers, but keep in mind its limitations.

    • TGIQ November 13, 2011 at 8:29 PM

      Funny, I’ve been debating the name for ages but this seemed like the best fit (“branding” and all that muck). It’s never too late to get your own domain via WordPress – I suspect you could make the transition quickly and seamlessly – it wasn’t that big a deal for me. Glad you found some new links to read!
      I also appreciate your input of the molbio. Chewing on it.

  3. George Sims November 11, 2011 at 1:34 PM

    My dearest Geeky,

    I shudder at the fame that awaits me, now that I’ve been mentioned on your site. I am far too undeserving of such notoriety, but most humbly and shamefully grateful. I shall immediately visit my poor website and update all the links to YOUR excellent blog. Thank you.

  4. George Sims November 11, 2011 at 1:46 PM

    I echo your sentiments on “natural history”. The university I attended (at age 40) seemed to concentrate heavily on taxonomy, although nowadays, taxonomists seem to be considered “hobbyists” or “less-than-serious”. I very much like to harken back to the days of “naturalists” in the mold of Darwin, et al.

    • TGIQ November 13, 2011 at 8:31 PM

      I just finished the book “The Species Seekers” by Richard Conniff; it deals entirely with the early days of natural history exploration and is a wonderful read – I very much suspect you would enjoy it.

  5. W November 11, 2011 at 9:04 PM

    I understand your concern about molecular work, but don’t throw out the baby with the bath water. I am a classically trained acarologist, I am highly motivated by a curiosity of natural history in the groups that I study and taxa that I am distracted by. My experience is based solidly on traditional morphological taxonomy, but I am also a molecular phylogeneticist. With an integrative approach you can obtain a more in-depth understanding of evolutionary diversification.

    • TGIQ November 13, 2011 at 8:24 PM

      Thank you for sharing your perspective (I wish I knew who you were, anonymous “W” – I don’t think you’ve commented before!) I have been chewing on your comment this weekend…more to come tomorrow.

  6. Warren November 11, 2011 at 11:55 PM

    lots of big words, don’t really get it, nice spider pic

  7. Pingback: Donning “New Binoculars” of Natural History « The Bug Geek

  8. The Ozarkian November 19, 2011 at 11:55 AM

    Since I can’t comment directly on “Bug Squad”, I’d like to mention that particular site seems to restrict comments to the members of the University of California community. Maybe Kathy can change that somehow. It’s really a nice site.

  9. Chris Grinter November 26, 2011 at 8:23 AM

    Love the new focus, name, and domain! (links updated). I’ve also enjoyed your thoughts on molecular bio and your willingness to conquer unfamiliar territory, good luck! You can throw me in the supporter camp, after all it’s data that better helps inform our understanding of the organisms we love. One of my first internships was “barcoding” (in a time before the term barcoding existed) species of cryptic skippers. The evidence from the genes helped bolster our new species hypothesis (and a highly endangered one at that!).

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