This week I have found myself on a somewhat working vacation to the beautiful Victoria in Canada’s British Columbia. I say “somewhat working” because I am supposed to be working this week, but couldn’t pass up the opportunity for a cheap trip to the northwest. Thus while I will be having as much fun as I can (enjoying parks, museums, the harbour, restaurants, and whale watching), I will also be reading, writing, and working on some coding skills. My advisor, Lev Ginzburg, has also set up a Skype meeting for later this week between himself, myself, and Stefano Allesina and a couple members of his lab (which I am looking forward to greatly).
While I spent much of the afternoon catching up on some reading, this morning I trekked all over downtown Victoria, the inner harbour, and all along the coastline parks.
I started off this morning in walking into the downtown area, starting around Chinatown, in search of a cup of coffee and some breakfast. After a relatively brief search I settled on Murchie‘s, a very nice cafe for coffee and a scone (it was delicious, these guys know how to do a scone [gotta love the Brits for that]).
After that I wandered around the wharf for a little while before deciding to take in a few of the local parks. My favorite place was Beacon Hill Park on the southern coast of the island section Victoria is on.
These are a few of the many pictures I took walking around the park.
While wandering around the beaches I also decided to check out some of the tide pools to see what kind of wildlife I could look at.
Although I have to admit that my nerdiest moment came while taking pictures of some flowers that were in the process of being visited by bees.
I thought that these were nice looking flowers, and apparently the bees did too.
There were a few buzzing around these flowers (and others). Probably the first thought I had while watching this pollination happen was, hey look, it’s a link in the bipartite plant-pollinator network of Beacon Hill Park.
If you look closely you can see the little flecks of pollen distributed on our little friend’s body.
That bee was really into this grouping of white flowers (I don’t know what species they are).
And in this picture we see why he is covered in pollen.
When he goes digging down into the flower he rubs all up against the anthers.
I call this my nerdy moment because while I watched this I could not help but think about the fact that it is convenient that the flower is so deep, leading the bee to crawl down into it and get covered in pollen. Which naturally lead to the thought; “coevolution is cool.” I also had to wonder about the plant-pollinator network, specifically if I was trying to describe this link with a measure of interaction strength, how would I do so. There are a number of possible methods. Is it the amount of time spent in each flower? The number of visits to flowers of the same species? I am not sure what the best method is, but I am pretty sure it has been covered extensively in the mutualistic network literature (see papers by Olesen, Jordano, and/or Bascompte).
And finally, I just have to share this, because it bears sharing. For lunch I wandered around the downtown area near the harbour looking for some food, when I happened upon a food truck touting their delicious hot dogs. One of their signature dogs was aptly named “Canada Eh,” so I decided that being in Canada, I had to try it.