Archivos de Diario para marzo 2019

04 de marzo de 2019

Down memory lane.

I had a bit of a trip down memory lane a day or two ago. I confirmed the ID of a Toadflax Brocade moth (Calophasia lunula), and as usual when I am unfamiliar with a moth, I went to MPG first, then followed the link to the Bugguide page to see if there were other similar moths - and for a description. I saw in the 'Remarks' section that the moth had been deliberately released in Belleville in 1962. This caught my attention - a lot of the people I worked with at Ag Can in the 80's had been transferred to Winnipeg from Belleville (I've since found out it was in 1972), and all of them were working on Integrated Pest Management. I wondered if some of those folks had been involved in the research and release of that moth. I've since learned that 10 researchers were transferred from Belleville to Winnipeg.
I did a quick search, and found that at least one of the scientists I worked with, Dr. Gordon Bucher, had done some research into virology on the moth larva. I don't know if any others I worked with were involved with that moth.
It's a strange old world. I did lots of work with Bucher (and Garth Bracken) mainly on flea beetles. Bucher taught me how to use the small finger to hold on to things, as that was a technique in microbiology. I still use it every now and then. He was an older man, who kept to himself and his circle of friends. He wasn't mean, or aloof. He talked about how he had had a heart valve replaced, and some of the complications of that. My impression though, was of a slightly stooped, thin man who spent a lot of time in his office.
The summer I remember most with Bracken/Bucher (they seemed to work as a team) was when we were dissecting flea beetles. At that point, there was no way to rear them in artificial conditions. Those beetles ready to lay eggs in the wild did so in the lab, but the rest did not. They seemed to stop the reproductive process when they were captured and brought to the lab. Bracken and Bucher wanted to find out if this was true, so we collected adults, and I and a partner spent a couple of weeks dissecting catches to find out if wild populations were ready to lay at the same proportion as what we had observed. It was easy to tell the males apart - they had large bright red testicles that popped out when the abdomen was pierced. With the females, we had to excise the ovaries and measure the stage of egg development. I recall that there was a correlation, but I don't think I saw the paper. He also told me that 100% was a pretty convincing statistic - I don't think he meant one individual, but if you have a sample size of 20, and 100% display a certain behaviour or trait, it's a convincing statistic.
Dr. Bucher died in his office. I was at work that day, but did not see him. I recall the flurry of activity that day. I still have and Ent. Soc. Canada memoir about Bugs that he gave me, with his name written on it. I also "liberated" a set of fine tipped forceps that belonged to his lab when I left Ag Can. I still have them. I'm not sure why, but I have always thought of him fondly. Perhaps I was more involved with him than I remember.

Publicado el 04 de marzo de 2019 a las 05:55 PM por mamestraconfigurata mamestraconfigurata | 3 comentarios | Deja un comentario