Becoming a Real Scientist & Returning to Canadiana

Hail and well met, blog readers! It’s been a while. One whole month to be precise. Which I spent working in the field collecting data for my Master’s research on weta, those crazy giant nocturnal crickets I like to think about!

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A female Wellington tree weta we extracted from a tree branch for research purposes. More photos to come!

I unfortunately was not able to keep y’all in the loop while I was doing my research on Maud Island in New Zealand because the internet connection was très limited, and thus the downloading and uploading of media items was not an option on the docket. But now that I am nestled in Vancouver airport for a casssssual 9 hour layover (shhhh let’s pretend that’s not happening right now), what better time to give a news update?

Before we proceed, one thing I would like to compliment North America on: wi-fi. NZ hasn’t quite gotten on board with providing that for free in its businesses (even including a lot of hostels and hotels). When you encounter free wi-fi in NZ, it is akin to stumbling upon a rare Pokemon. ‘Tis that lone Jigglypuff in Mt. Moon: ’tis to incite an adrenaline rush and ’tis to be cherished for the moment and ’tis not to be seen again for a long, long time. So thank you, North America, for being so generous with your invisible technology tubules (pretty sure I understand how the internet works).

Anyways: becoming a real scientist. What does that mean? Welly well, it means that this hot shot finally co-authored on a scientific publication! And here we shall get a window into the average speed of the scientific process: this work hearkens back to my first independent research project, which was on the potential toxic effects of wastewater exposure on mallards, that I did in the third year of my Bachelor’s degree. AKA a hot minute ago, AKA 3 years ago! You might think: oh man, that sounds like a failing of the institution. But honestly it’s probably more of a good sign than anything, because it means the paper went through many stages of revisions to ensure that it’s an accurate and well-written final product.

At this stage the paper has been accepted for publication in a journal called Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety, but not yet actually published. Once it’s online I will provide a link, although I am not sure if it will be open-access so I will make sure to explain that research project a bit in the blog post. Anyhoo, this is very exciting news for a young scientist, so I am happy to be able to share it with y’all! Mmmmmmmallards!

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After briefly being rescued from the airport for a dinner excursion by my lovely aunt, uncle, and cousin in Vancouver, I will at last be headed to my final destination in Montréal where I will be able to store all the weta legs ‘n’ eggs that I collected in the field and start on data analysis. I will soon publish a blog post explaining what exactly it IS that I’m doing with the weta, which has remained mostly a mystery to this point! I look forward to sharing that with you guys and we shall unravel the weta mysteries together in the future as I finally get to go through some data and figure out some answers to my scientific questions. Stay fresh, blog readers!

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