Plankton

While I was volunteering at the Lucy Evan’s Nature Center, I had the pleasure of meeting Corinne DeBra. She was a huge supporter of my work and really pushed me to turn this volunteer opportunity into something larger. I fell in love with the plankton almost as soon as I discovered them swimming in a single drop of water under the microscope.

Zoea larva are the larvae of crustaceans. This little fellow could one day grow up to be a big ole crab!

Zoea larva are the larvae of crustaceans. This little fellow could one day grow up to be a big ole crab!

Because these creatures were so foreign to me, every time I went in I discovered something new. The abundance and diversity of these organisms was incredibly humbling. As far as I can tell, information on identifying and classifying plankton seems extremely sparse. In some ways, however, it made the whole experience a lot more exciting.

What are these copepods doings? I don’t know, but it’s probably something naughty.

What are these copepods doings? I don’t know, but it’s probably something naughty.

I did my best to take notes on behavior and appearance. Making sketches from a microscope is definitely a challenge. Especially when your subjects like to zoom in and out of the dirt and debris.

Early sketches as I was trying to familiarize myself with my new friends.

Early sketches as I was trying to familiarize myself with my new friends.

As I became more familiar with the organisms, I made a little infographic introducing the major groups. This was in part to clear things up for myself, and in part to try to explain this weird and wonderful world to visitors of the nature center.

Ciliates are some of the most diverse and confusing organisms I saw. They come in almost every shape and size.

Ciliates are some of the most diverse and confusing organisms I saw. They come in almost every shape and size.

Although I eventually had to leave the position, I came out of it with a whole new appreciation for plankton and a handful of neat spot illustrations. I also rekindled my love for polychaete worms and increased confusion about the classification we call protozoa. I’m hoping to revisit these illustrations and add a little bit more information to each group.

Polychaetes man…they’re the best.

Polychaetes man…they’re the best.

Valentine's Day

Last year, in 2018, was the first time I attended the NorCal Parasitologist’s meeting. Everyone was immensely kind and enthusiastic about the work that I was making, and I had a delightful time learning about their research. Before the meeting I had put together some parasite products, a few stickers, postcards, prints, and valentine’s cards.

From 2018’s NCP meeting. Please note that I am repping UCSB parasitology lab in my favorite “I ❤ Parasites!” shirt. This shirt was not actually designed by me.

From 2018’s NCP meeting. Please note that I am repping UCSB parasitology lab in my favorite “I ❤ Parasites!” shirt. This shirt was not actually designed by me.

I had such a great time last year, that I decided to do it again this year. This time around our featured organisms are a tick, a tapeworm, and a zombie snail! Dr. Mike Moser, organizer of the event, had requested a “Love is Contagious” themed illustration featuring pubic lice as well. It turned out to be my favorite illustration of the set, and I am hoping to have t-shirts or tote bags made.

I can’t wait to add even more designs for next year!

I can’t wait to add even more designs for next year!

Show someone you really care, by giving them crabs!

Show someone you really care, by giving them crabs!

All of the card products can now be purchased online by following the shop link in the navigation bar of the website!