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Category Archives: Research

Congratulations to Ed!

Ed Dobrzanski is a “fixture” at the Museum.  He had been a volunteer here before I started back in in 1993, and he has volunteered continuously for the past 20 years. Ed has done tremendous work as an amateur paleontologist, collecting, preparing, studying, identifying, and cataloguing fossils. He has contributed to paleontological field and laboratory work in a great variety of ways. For his all-round efforts, many of us are…

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With a little help from my friends

For the last several years I have been studying the pollination ecology in Birds Hill Provincial Park focusing specifically on the rare Western Silvery Aster (Symphyotrichum sericeum) plant.  I discovered that this species is self-incompatible (meaning it can’t fertilize its own eggs), and visited by a wide range of insect pollinators, including both flies and bees.

Also posted in Botany | Comments closed

Pallas Bugseed Possibly Extirpated in Manitoba

For the last two years I have been searching for four species of rare Bugseed (Corispermum spp.) plants.  Historically these plants were found in sand dunes and along the beaches of Lakes Winnipeg and Manitoba.  Unfortunately there were very few recently collected specimens; most had been collected over 40 years ago.  Attempts to determine the rarity status of these plants were hampered due to this lack of information.

Also posted in Botany | Comments closed

When is a human like a bison?

A lot of conservation initiatives around the world involve fencing off areas to “protect” the wild species contained within.  Although that strategy can work well in ecosystems that are rarely disturbed, like tropical rainforests, it doesn’t work as well in ecosystems that evolved with natural disturbances.  North American prairies used to contain migratory herbivores (e.g. bison, antelope) that consumed large quantities of the vegetation.  Bison are unique in that they…

Also posted in Botany | Comments closed

The Latvian Rolling Pin

It’s a simple tool: a rolling pin made from a single piece of wood, fashioned into a two-foot long rod tapered at both ends. Sometimes these are called French rolling pins, but this one was made in Latvia over one hundred years ago and made its way to Winnipeg in 1909. A young woman named Rytze (1885-1962) followed her married sister to Canada, and the rolling pin was part of…

Also posted in History | Comments closed

Guest Column: Churchill

When we got back from Churchill a couple of weeks ago, Debbie Thompson handed me a piece that she felt inspired to write. This was her first visit to the Hudson Bay coast, and as an artist her perspective is quite different from mine. It’s always depressing leaving a place that fills a void in my soul. There is a solitude here that tugs on my spirit, yearning for acknowledgment…

Also posted in Geology & Paleontology | Tagged , , | Comments closed

So Much Sun, So Little Time!

This past week, I again appreciated the relationship between fieldwork and weather. In previous visits to Churchill, we usually had breaks in the outdoor work because of the region’s varied and often unpleasant weather. This year, I had anticipated that we would meet similar conditions, and that I would be able to fit some blog posts into the time at the research station waiting for rain/sleet/snow to clear. But of…

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Back in Churchill

We arrived in Churchill last night after a long hiatus; I hadn’t been here in six years. I hadn’t really thought that I missed the place, since I get to think about it so often, but when I hit the ground I was again shocked by how strikingly beautiful it all is.

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Confessions of a Genuine Science Geek

For the last several weeks I have been recording the pollinators of wild flowers in Birds Hill Provincial Park.  One rather windy and uneventful day I was able to reflect on my chosen profession and was forced to conclude that I am a science geek.  

Also posted in Botany | Comments closed

… packed up and ready to go …

In a couple of weeks we will be doing fieldwork near Churchill, collecting fossils on the shore of Hudson Bay. We will be flying up, and therefore have a limited checked baggage allowance. Paleontological fieldwork is not a lightweight pursuit, so the mound of gear shown above was shipped off this morning, taking the slow surface route by truck and train (Churchill has no road link to the rest of…

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