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Archive for the ‘Natural History’ Category

The World Science Festival descended for its second year on our gorgeous sub-tropcial city. Day One of my volunteering at the Festival included – 

  • A stint at the Translational Research Institute (TRI) for the Cancer Crusaders Apprentice Program where high school kids, in an educational lab, observed cancer cells through a microscope &  the effect of chemotherapy drugs on these cells. We watched time lapse videos where non-cancerous and cancerous cells containing the green fluorescent protein went through stages of cell division (mitosis). We could see the chromosomes aligned in the centre of the cells & then pulled towards the edges as the cell prepared to split in two. Amazing!! 
  • Helping out at the Queensland Museum on an interactive display for kids on the three major factors effecting the health of the Great Barrier Reef – increase temperature, land clearing and increased rainfall. Using wii technology kids moved their hands clockwise and anti-clockwise to  change these factors and got to see first hand on a big screen the effect on a coral reef and its animal inhabitants 

Between my shifts I spent sometime at the Museum checking out various exhibitions, including the Hatchery, an exhibition of some of the Museum’s most prized collections, and a multitude of natural history displays. The Hatchery is a display where the public can view Loggerhead turtles emerge from eggs and newly emerged loggerhead and flatback hatchlings swimming in aquariums.  And this year they had Moon jellyfish (baby turtle food) on display in illuminated aquarium – so beautiful! I was in awe. Then I ventured on to look at the prized collections, which included an extinct gastric brooding frog (wow!!!), an exhibit of fossils unearthed from Geebung (north Brisbane) a few years ago (I blogged about it here)(very cool to see fossils of animals that lived in the area 50 million years ago), then on to displays of insects, birds, mammals, live green snakes, rainforest geckos, giant burrowing cockroaches and giant stick insects. 

Phew! A fun and educational day! 

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The weather in Brisbane has been hot, humid and rainy for the last few days – ideal weather for fungi and for fungi spotting. 

Last Friday, 24th March, my eyes were pealed on my walk to work and during my lunch break for any and every kind of fungi. Mushrooms galore, chanterelles, mycena, bird nest fungi, plate fungi and slime mould, but no stinkhorns. 

 

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As I took our dog for his morning walk  I was rather chuffed to see a myriad of mushrooms and even a fairy ring in a local park. I have not observed a fairy ring in this park before. Pretty cool, I thought!



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This afternoon I spotted some fantastic specimens of Coprinellus disseminatus commonly known as Fairy Ink Caps in a flower bed, in a location that I hadn’t seen them in before. I have observed this fungi before and have blogged about it as well here. In 2014 in a violent storm two trees in the flower bed came down and I’m assuming the fungi is growing in the remnants of the tree stumps.

These fascinating and delicate fungi got me blogging again!

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It’s been a while since I have blogged. Life – overseas trip, time spent with our dog Harry, major life changes, and side projects have got in the way. I finally bit the Twitter bullet and took to active tweeting at @SapphicSci and my other alter egos @LipstickLabCoat and @GildaCorday. My side project, Ferocious Cabaret, a local community group in Brisbane, Australia, has gone through a relaunch and we will be putting on bigger and better shows for up and coming performers (of burlesque, cabaret, drag, stand-up, acoustic music and song) in 2017. Check out our new website here.

I’d been telling myself for a while to get back to blogging. And low and behold this afternoon while buying an afternoon chocolate snack I spotted some fungi – stunning cream and grey specimens of Coprinellus disseminatus commonly known as Fairy Ink Caps. Check out my Friday Fungi Spotting post for photos of these delicate fungi.

But meanwhile I couldn’t help but share a photo of our dog Harry.

Image – copyright Sapphicscientist

And a little plug for Ferocious Cabaret

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While walking back to my office from  training session, I noticed some Stinkhorn fungi in a flower bed. In fact there were multiple specimens of two different species of Stinkhorn fungi located in close proximity to each other (see fourth photo) –

  • Asteroe rubra – a red star shaped Stinkhorn fungus
  •  Phallus rubicundus – a red phallic shaped Stinkhorn fungus

   
    
   

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Red Stinkhorn fungi (Phallus rubicundus) spotted on a flower bed. I even spotted some flys attracted by the pungent foul smelling or dour omitted by the fungus specimens.    

    
    
 

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