A blog on social wasps and life

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010 | Education, Metablogging, Personalities, Science | Comments Off on A blog on social wasps and life

I want to call your attention to a new blog written by Kurt Pickett, a colleague and close friend of mine. Kurt and I meet at the American Museum of Natural History a few years back. He was a postdoc and I a grad student, both working with James M. Carpenter.

The blog, Apoica, is named after the genus of rare nocturnal paper-wasps (Vespidae) he studied during his Ph.D. at Ohio State University. Kurt is currently an assistant professor at the University of Vermont where he continues his research on phylogenetics and the evolution of social behavior in the paper-wasp family. We are actively collaborating on a project involving ants (of course), combining molecular and morphological data for phylogenetic analysis.

In his blog Kurt writes not about his discoveries on wasp behavior, but about another major discovery he came upon by the end of his postdoc years: he has lymphoma. He recently underwent a bone marrow transplant, the ultimate treatment for his kind of cancer. He blogs about the up and downs of his recovery with the eye of the excellent scientist he is. Kurt has a great sense of humor, but don’t expect his posts to be anything but rather dark in tone.


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Blogging runs in families

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010 | Metablogging | 5 Comments

Families of closely related topics that is. Morgan D. Jackson set out to reconstruct the phylogeny of insect blogs:

You will think that a blog with the name of Archetype would be very close to the root of the tree, if not being the root itself. Oh well, this blog seems to be well nested in a clade “higher up”. But look at the bright side, Archetype’s sister blog is excellent and the one that lead me into blogging in the first place.

The oldest known [cough… African… cough] ant

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010 | Ants, Metablogging, Publishing, Science, Web | 8 Comments

Here’s a perfect example of what I like about blogs becoming an integral communication tool for the scientific community and interested folks alike:

Cretaceous African ant in amber (Courtesy of Vincent Perrichot via

  1. A peer-review paper gets published;
  2. The media gets hold on the story;
  3. The blogs react: scientists and general public fill the comments section (in the genuine tone of the internets);
  4. The authors of the original paper join in the discussion.

Discussion may get heated, comments may get bitter, but the results are always rewarding for all.


Archetype turns one year old

Thursday, November 19th, 2009 | Administrative, Metablogging | 11 Comments

roberto kellerI have now been keeping this blog for as long as it takes the Earth to makes a full revolution around the Sun. And for some strange cultural reason, this entitles me to reflect about it.

It has been a highly enjoyable experience so far. My readership has grown beyond my modest expectations, currently averaging about 100 visitors a day. I have gotten the most traffic whenever one of the much more popular bloggers direct readers to this site– this has been specially so everytime I get the Myrmecos bump, but there are a few other people to thank.

When I started, I decided that if I could post at least once a week I would be satisfied (so far the case). › Continue reading


Counterintuition in Biology

Thursday, October 1st, 2009 | Metablogging, Philosophy, Theory | 2 Comments

haeckel RotatoriaOver at Evolving Thoughts, the mighty white gorilla from the Antipodes (that sometimes goes under the nom de plume John Wilkins) has paused from his grand World Tour 2009 to write a nice and succinct reflection on the nature of concepts and definitions in Biology. He writes:

We ought not to think that a conception or definition or hypothesis that works in one part of biology must work in all others, and yet biologists themselves often behave as if this were true. That is another challenge: why is this? The answer, I believe, is that biology is both highly diverse, and also massive.

Read the rest in his post: Counterintuition: Bdelloid Rotifers « Evolving Thoughts.

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Myrmecoid – New on my Blogroll

Thursday, September 17th, 2009 | Metablogging | Comments Off on Myrmecoid – New on my Blogroll

I don’t think there is any argument about the fact that ants are the coolest creatures to ever put foot on this planet insects around. But in case you are still not convinced just think about all those insects that either try to look like ants or make whatever possible to hang out with the cool.

On that note, Taro Eldredge is a former Cornell University undergrad that just moved to the University of Kansas to start graduate studies and just moved his blog to WordPress (btw, what would be the opposite of a double wammy?). His research interest is in staphylinid beetles of the sort that live as guest of ant and termite colonies.

Check out his blog at Myrmecoid – ??????

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New on my blogroll

Saturday, August 1st, 2009 | Metablogging | 2 Comments

I had stumble across myrmician the macrophotographer on the web before. He has a very nice collection of Australian ants, spiders and other invertebrates on Flickr.

I just learned he is also a Ph.D. student at Pert, researching the effects of salinity levels on terrestrial arthropods. He started a clever-looking blog where he mixes photography and science. After one month posts are looking good. Besides, you know that anyone with that avatar can’t be a bad blogger.

(Hat tip to himself 😉 )

Macromite’s Blog: scanning electron micrograph perfection

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009 | Metablogging, Science, Technique, Web | Comments Off on Macromite’s Blog: scanning electron micrograph perfection
A spruced-up version of a dirty box mite. 2009 © DEWalter.

A spruced-up version of a dirty box mite. 2009 © DEWalter.

A new blog just sprung into life. Macromite’s Blog:

› Continue reading

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Cladistics wars 2.0

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009 | Cladistics, Education, Metablogging, Science | 2 Comments

There is a skirmish going on at Dechronization blog right now1. This is a coauthored blog about phylogenetics. I like used to like this blog (its was right there on my blogroll —->2). There are surprisingly very few blogs about phylogenetic methods these days, despite the wide use that phylogenies currently have  in evolutionary biology and beyond (e.g., linguistics). I will complain that, for nine authors, they post little, sometimes not a single post during a month.

› Continue reading

  1. 1. Update 12:00pm GMT, April 22nd, 2009. Original post on Dechronization deleted.

    1.2. Update, May 2nd, 2009. It seems that the original poster did not agree with the removal of his posts and reposted the Dechronization announcement of the Cladistics Workshop here.

  2. Update April 23nd, 2009. I took the link out of my blogroll to show a dear friend that I care more about him than a silly blog.
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And as we discussed last semester, the Army Ants will leave nothing but your bones.
- Tom Waits