Just realised that even though I've used the personal pronoun a lot, I haven't actually said much about what I've been doing recently.
That rave about Solemya was prompted by Friday afternoon's water cooler conversation at work. Well, it wasn't really around the water cooler. It was in my office. What started as a slightly flippant comment about collaborative research grew like a hairball when the three of us (a microbiologist, an evolutionary geneticist and a zoologist*) began to throw ideas around. It turned silly when we realised that Solemya are also known as date shells but we got over it.
Those animal–bacterium or animal–protist mutualisms are really fascinating. One of the shallow-water American species, Solemya velum, has been studied extensively as a surrogate for deep sea bivalves. We're thinking of taking a look at the local species and its symbiotic bacteria in detail once the semester settles down. I'll have to apply for collection permits because we'll be working within Port Phillip Bay (I know the best spot for them on the western side) and that will take a while. In the meantime, we can either design some exciting projects or lose interest. One or the other.
What else has been happening?
I'm reading four books. Two crime (Tony Hillerman's Skeleton Man, James Lee Burke's Pegasus Descending), one fantasy (for want of a better term—it's Terry Pratchett's Going Postal) and one non-fiction (John Stevens' Not for the Faint-hearted). I wanted to read a bunch of books that I wouldn't get confused with one another. Although I'm not very far into any of them, they all seem like ripping reads.
*Sounds like the opening of a very nerdy joke.