With the goal to be done with work by noon, I biked up to the Hjelm house at 6:30 this morning to survey flowering plants in the common garden, and by 7:30 was hunkered down in the Hjelm house basement with the dissecting scope and an army of ants. Since Thursday, I've been identifying the ants I collected from Echinacea plants. Ant ID can be incredibly frustrating, given their small size and minute characteristics. For instance, one of the major differences between genera is the number of teeth on the mandibles! Exasperated after two hours of looking through the scope, I decided to pin my ants and return to ID-ing on Monday.
Later this coming week, I'll also attack the ants I collected from my pitfall traps, some of which have over 100 specimens! I also need to decide how many weeks I'm going to collect from my traps, and how much of the data I can realistically get through before the two poster sessions in August.
Other than my ant party, here's what else was going on today:
--Kelly flew Felix, our adopted kitten, to his new family this morning!
--Shona, Lydia, Maria, and Andrew surveyed flowering plants in the common garden and then headed to Kelly's remnants to work on her phenology while she's out of town
--Katherine worked on her aphid experiment in the common garden