Arthropod Appreciation: A report from Kalene, Limestone Island Student Intern May 2017

Each summer, a team of interns joins our crew on East Limestone Island for a month at a time. While the goal for this initiative is to provide these undergraduate students with field-based learning experiences, they quickly become essential parts of our team on the island. Kalene Lilico, our first inter, spent the month of May on Limestone and wrote this beautiful post capturing the experience. Than you so much Kalene for your contributions and energy. You're very missed!

Growing up in the lovey but land-locked Alberta, my exposure to the ocean and all the intriguing organisms depending on it were limited to occasional family holidays. Slowly but surely I’ve been delving into the oceanic world more and more since I moved to Victoria 3 years ago, but never have I had the opportunity to be so completely enveloped by it than my time on Limestone.

From a bumpy skiff ride on our first day in, to intertidal explorations and sealion haul-out counts, I have developed a love for the ocean greater even than my love for the mountains! Although it’s not fair to pick favorites, some oceanic critters fascinate me more than others.  Despite tough competition from the tenacious fluff-ball of an ANMU chick, the salty, stinging anemone, and the roaring sealions (making it evident how they were named), I found arthropods just a little bit more intriguing.

I had ample opportunity and was encouraged by Viv and Morgan to get to know some of the critters that are often overlooked for the admittedly cuter birds and mammals. As the month progressed, I wound up finding notes from people in camp who had captured (or stunned) a beetle or spider to save for me to look over later! I was very appreciative of my fellow biology nerds who would crowd around as we looked at mites or mandibles on a beetle, or psuedoscorpions on bird skulls. I was more than lucky to be in such interested and knowledgeable company.  My curiosity surrounding the critters in the area was fostered in other ways as well; mini bird ID quizzes, bird handling skills, and burrow exploration during the ANMU census only served to increase my rapidly growing interest in seabirds and all the species intricately intertwined with them. Needless to say, Limestone has me hooked and I can’t wait for another opportunity to get back!

We hire interns in March each year, and the internship is available for accreditation through Simon Fraser University. Join our mailing list to receive notice about upcoming opportunities and deadlines.