Saturday, February 27, 2010

Research Trip to the Coast

Many of you may know that I got my Ph.D. working with seaweeds. I continue to work on the invasive species commonly known as "nori" (seaweed used in sushi). This seaweed is a $1.2 billion/yr business in the far East. It is grown on plantations in open bays throughout China, Korea, and Japan. Ships will draw up ballast water while in such bays before coming to the US. Upon arriving in the US such ships will empty this ballast water; estimates put the average at over 2 million gallons per hour. It has also been shown that over 3,000 species of organisms have been transported in ballast water; my seaweed is one of those organisms. For this reason, my collection trips take me to very large and busy ports. Last weekend I and two of my students collected this Asiatic seaweed in the Texas coastal cities of Freeport and Galveston, but did not find it in Port Arthur, TX or Cameron, LA. My lab is in the process of sequencing the DNA from these samples to determine their exact origin. It is really fun, sort of like trying to recreate a crime from DNA evidence. However, I don't expect this seaweed mystery to make an episode on CSI anytime soon.

My two students, Ken and Hannah (above) and me looking under every rock for nori (below); it is a wet, nasty, slippery task that I find very rewarding.
I verify that the students have indeed found the correct seaweed.

Supertankers transport more than oil across the world

Friday, February 26, 2010

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Research Trip

Debbie and I along with two of my students went on a seaweed collection trip to the gulf coast last weekend. Besides finding my favorite seaweed and bringing it back for molecular analysis, you know I had to take some [many] bird pics while I was down there (be sure to check out my birding blog for other pics). The last place we checked for seaweed was in Cameron, LA, which meant we came back to Arkansas through Louisiana. I just loved the bayou country. While coming back we took many pics of water fowl and this Anhinga caught my eye. I was so excited to see it that I just took picture after picture of it. This Anhinga would throw its head forward and then backward; I thought it must be some bazaar mating display for sure. It was not until I got home and looked at the pictures that I realized why this bird was acting so strangely.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

My Favorite Bird

These beautiful cedar waxwings showed up with a flock of robins to eat the tiny, leftover pears from our two Bradford pear trees. I just love the coloration of these birds from the yellow tip tail to the red tip wings. I must have missed them in previous years or else this is the first year they spotted our pear trees. It doesn't take them long to strip the trees bare. I watched them last spring strip the red berries from a holly bush on the college campus in a matter of minutes.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

So Much for Spring!

I guess my thoughts about Spring yesterday were a bit premature. Of course, Tabitha warned me about such wishful thinking (see her comment on yesterday's blog). It is coming down in snowballs! Big, wet, heavy snow is blanketing everything except the road. As usual my prayer and plea is "hang in there electricity" mainly due to the fact that I heat with electricity.

My Sweetheart

Here is my Valentine. I have been asking her to be me Valentine for over 30 years now and she always says "yes." I love you Debbie. Will you be my Valentine again?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Canadian Express

We went to the lake this morning to try to collect some aquatic plants for my research. I didn't have much luck with the plants, but Debbie got some wonderful shots of some Canadian Geese.

Spring Cometh

Yes, Spring is in the air. The daffodils are rocketing from the earth; the buzzards are catching rising warm air currents; and this yellow-bellied sapsucker is tapping into the sap as it begins to rise once again in the Maple trees.

Friday, February 12, 2010

dog breath be gone!

Good doggy hygiene keeps Candy's teeth looking good. Now if I can only keep track of which tooth brush is mine.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Brayden turns 1

Brayden's original birthday party got "iced out". The weather was bad here so the party was rescheduled for Sunday. We really enjoyed the time we spent with Brayden, family, and friends. Tabitha decorated with a Baby Einstein theme and she did a real good job (with a little help from her Cricut and Suzanne). She used the Cricut to make the Happy Birthday banner.
Here is a picture of Brayden with PawPaw. This is one of the few times during the day that Brayden was caught being still -- and that was before cake.
He wasn't real excited about opening presents. He was more interested in other things going on but Tabitha and Sean were able to keep his attention long enough to get through most of them.

At first he wasn't really sure what to think about the cake, but as you can see before he was through with it he had the hang of it real good. I am surprised he didn't get sick, but even after cake he ate a cookie or two.

He didn't eat the entire cake, this is a picture of him still going after Tabitha took the cake off his tray.

We look forward to many birthday's to come with our precious little man. Love you, Brayden