Thursday, December 6, 2012

Christmas Present #2 OR Red Rock Crabs Rampage

About this time last year, I found out my first paper had been accepted.  Today, I got my second academic Christmas present (hint: it's not a pony, either).

My second, and final, paper from my Master's work was published today in PLoS ONE.  

Woohoo!

That means it's open access, and you can download your very own copy for free!




If you prefer to read my editorialized summary in a more...engaging?...voice, I wrote a little thing for SciPos, UW Biology's Grad Blog. 




Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Walkabout Missive #1 OR Local Colour

In an attempt to escape the inevitability of a SAD Seattle winter, I've fled to the Southern Hemisphere for a few weeks.  Actually, I've fled the Northwest for the rest of the year. I've been staying with my friend Tasha, who is doing a Ph.D. at Lincoln University on non-native clovers (more later?)! As we've explored her field sites, digging along roadsides because science is nothing if not glamorous, we've also been able to explore some EXTREMELY rad intertidal places. We stopped over at Taylor's Mistake (Figure 1), a little cove east of Christchurch.  
Figure 1. Taylor's Mistake? As in, "Whoops, this place is fantastic"?
Like a good little naturalist, I had the foresight to spend a bit much on a field guide. With the notable exception of the gaping hole in the shape of arthropods, this book has been pretty helpful.  So, here I'll do my best to give you a little tour by proxy. Feel free to let me know if you've noticed something I've gotten wrong. I've also tried to include the Maori names where they are available.

Local Faunae

You've already noticed the mussels, perhaps?  I counted 4 species: carpets of Little Black Mussels/Kuku (Limnoperna(1) pulex - Figure 2), Blue Mussels/also Kuku(2) (Figure 3, Mytilus galloprovincialis) which, I'm sure you've already noticed, are familiar for being invasive in the PNW; Green-lipped mussels/again, Kuku (Perna canalicula - Figure 4) , which have the distinction of being one of the prettiest mussels I've ever seen. I also espied, but naturally have no photodocumentation of, ribbed mussels/kuku, too?(3) (Aulacomya maoriana).

Mussel Beach


Figure 2. Yeah, no shortage of mussels.  Little Black Mussels/Kuku.

Figure 3. Beaucoup kuku. Black and Blue mussels. 

Figure 4. NZ Green-lipped mussel (+ friend, snakeskin chiton, Sypharochiton pelliserpentis)


And speaking of gastropods, let's not forget the snails...

Figure 5. This is absolutely a whelk, but beyond that, I'm really not certain on this one. Nothing I've found in the guide or online is quite right for this one. Any guesses? But you can scope the Banded Periwinkles (Austrolittorina antipodum) on the mussels in the top right.

Figure 6.  Oh I got this one, Beaded top shell - Calliostoma punctulatum

Figure 7.  Top shell and two Cook's Turbans/Karaka (Cookia sulcata). These snails were all live and just hanging out on the sand! Don't you know?! You guys are too cool to be so accessible!
Figure 8.  Nudi-eggs?


And lest you think I was entirely mollusk-o-centric:

Figure 9. Anemones!  Dunno what they are, couldn't get a good enough view...definitely some symbiodinium up in there though.

Ok, last two.  These were from Brighton Beach, a bit north.

Figure 10.  Dosinia anus (snicker)/Harihari, I think? It was such a cool, flat shell.  I'm just a little bit obsessed.

Figure 11. These carapaces were all over the beach.  My best guess is the New Zealand Paddle Crab (Ovalipes catharus)

And here's the scene at Brighton Beach (4):

Figure 12. Ok I swear this is the last one.  You can just see Kaikoura (I think) looking north.



OK - Ima go find some more stuff...





References and Miscellany:
(1) Double-checking taxonomic status of names on WoRMS, the guide gives the genus as Xenostrobus, but WoRMS says Limnoperna is the accepted genus.

(2) From what I can tell, using the Te Papa site, there are lots of Maori names for these things, but the generic mussel name seems to be "kuku". 
(3) These might also be called "kopakopa" which is also used to refer to other shells that are "ribbed"
(4) It was really windy, and the sand was very fine at Brighton. I might have permanently damaged my new camera...Thanks Tasha for lending me your camera and some pictures as well...

Friday, November 16, 2012

Mollusk Muzik #5 OR data analysis be damned!

Unfortunately no actual video for this one. I was going to make a slideshow of PNW marine snails to watch while playing this song, but I found something better! Check out Kevin Lee's website of really beautiful pictures of PNW gastropods. In the top-right corner, there's even a "slideshow" feature. (It's abalone heavy toward the beginning, if you want to skip ahead to snails, they get going around page 5). You can play this song in the background as you let the slideshow auto-advance, and drink your mid-morning coffee...at least, that's how I'm spending my Friday morning - data analysis be damned!

Swear and Shake
"Humming to a Sea Snail"
Album: Maple Ridge

Monday, November 12, 2012

SCAD (Scientific Conference Affective Disorder)

I was at a conference this weekend. I sat through a million and a half talks this weekend.  I sat through a million and a half talks about marine biology this weekend(1).  I sat through a million and a half talks about marine biology in MONTEREY, CALIFORNIA this weekend.

And not a single one mentioned this...



Thanks, Ryan, for keeping me abreast of the latest. 

Of course, conferences are great ways to get excited about all the cool work that's going on in your discipline - but they are freaking long, even when they're short, and there are all these other people there - saying stuff!   But I really feel like I should at least find a few of the fun things I heard about to share with those of you who weren't able to make it.


Here are some highlights:


  1. Mangroves are actually invasive in Hawai'i (2).  It's really somehow disarming when you find out a species that is normally of conservation concern in one (or many) place is targeted for eradication in another. Ecology is all about context, people.
  2. Concrete reef balls OR BUST! Last Christmas, a family friend gave me the awesomest gift of a donation to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, supporting oyster restoration via concrete reef balls. Robert Dunn(3) gave a talk suggesting that the use of non-calcium carbonate based substrates for making oyster reefs (like concrete) might help reduce the colonization by a boring (4) sponge. The sponge is attracted to calcium carbonate, because it eats its way through oyster shells (which are made of calcium carbonate), which is obviously bad news for oysters. 
  3. Arts and crafts are alive and well in marine ecology.  I get the greatest pleasure at seeing the creativity and ingenuity applied to ecological experiments, maybe because that's one of my favorite things about doing it. Wandering around the Home Depot, or JoAnn Fabric, looking for inspriation and trying to explain to the well-intentioned, but out-of-their-depths, customer service folks what you are trying to accomplish with the goods available for purchase at their store (5).  This weekend I saw a robot attack shark, an eelgrass bed made of yarn and polypropylene tape, a toy octopus attacking a real hermit crab. 

Lowlights:

  1. We might have been outdanced by The Filipino Nurses Association, which was sharing the conference facility. At least their party started earlier, and they were better dressed.
  2. The irony of going to Monterey for a marine ecology conference and spending literally 96 times as much time in a conference room with my butt in a chair than I spent in the amazing local marine environment. I realize I am largely to blame for this.  It is a choice.
  3. Absolutely nobody really agrees with anyone else on ecological modelling.


Also did you know that, in places outside of Seattle, it's sometimes sunny and warm?! EVEN in November?!  I know, CRAZY! But look (figure 1), I have proof!




Figure 1.  On arrival in the bay area, I realized I had been deceived by
Seattle's plummeting descent into the dark abyss of winter (6).  It turns out
 the sun DOES still actually rise - at least in California.


References and Miscellany:
(1) Ok, fine, this might be an exaggeration. I did go for a walk on the beach one day. Also I saw a talk on efforts to conserve the California Condor, which can't, strictly speaking, be included in that number if it' s not marine. I was particularly excited to see this talk because it's one of the rare ones at this conference that isn't about benthic marine ecology. 
(2) Megsie Siple, now at SAFS
(3) For whom I can't find any direct links, sorry.
(4) Zzzzz....Right, not that kind of boring.  "Boring" meaning making holes, people! Sponges are not uninteresting, did you not just see the video I posted?!
(5) "You want to do what with orange sparkly tulle?"  But seriously, thank you to all the folks who have patiently attempted to help me.
(6) It's surprising to me that Natalie Dee isn't from Seattle. She nails it.



Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Holy Undiscovered Charismatic Marine Megafuana, Batman!

Did you guys see this?!





I know! Nuts! There exist species of whales that haven't even been seen before!? SRSLY?! Good GOD!

I was jonesing for some real information, so here, I found the journal article and you can get it for free - including a drawing (all the pictures in the media are of the species of beaked whale that it was originally confused for, so I didn't even bother to put it in here).

It's at Te Papa! So is this!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Mollusk Muzik #4 OR Marine Amphibians

Given that we're being inclusive of all Mollusks, octopuses (not "octopi" though "octopodes" is technically acceptable even if it makes you sound like a pedant) are fair game and so this one was unavoidable.  And while this version doesn't quite have the orchestration that the original does, the video is much more fun.  They must have had a great time making the muppets for this one.


The Muppets/ The Beatles (Ringo Starr)
Octopus' Garden
Abbey Road


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Mollusk Muzik # 3 OR Where a Snail Has To Be

There is a number, somewhere between 10 and 30, that I can no longer remember.  It's how many They Might Be Giants concerts I've been to. Yup. Every single one was worth it and a blast.  

They Might Be Giants
"Snail Shell"
Album: John Henry

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Species species of the Week week # 6 OR Goodyear Mollusks


Previously on Species species of the Week week: The tautonomical diet of the Blue Dragon!  Up first on the Menu menu

Janthina janthina
Figure 1. The Violet or Purple Snail, a prey item of the non-tautonomical
Blue Dragon nudibranch. I propose the new common name: Baggins Snail

If we accept the premise that snails are like Hobbits - you know, pretty much homebodies (insert rimshot here for the best snail pun ever!), and not overly predisposed to doing anything too hastily - Janthina janthina (Figure 1) is the Bilbo Baggins of snails. J. janthina is not content to trail unambitiously along the ground, or leaves, or rocks, or mud, or whatever. This snail FLIES! And it does this by making its own blimp (Figure 2). True they do so underwater, but to a regular old humdrum sea snail confined haul their shells across the substrate, this must look like magic.

Figure 2. Witness: the Goodyear snail. J. janthina (Baggins Snail)
constructing its own dirigible. Credit where credit is due.
The snail uses mucus to trap air from the surface into bubbles, making a raft that keeps them afloat. The raft is driven around by wind and surface currents, and the snail goes on undirected, upside-down walkabouts on the surface of the ocean - so, blimp might not be as apt as hot-air balloon, really.

How did the snail learn to fly then? It turns out this is kind of a cool story (1). The bubble raft is an adapted form of the egg mass. Lots of snails lay their eggs in mucus-y masses. So the theory goes that some ancestor of this snail ended making egg masses with air trapped in them, which was good for the baby snails since they got dispersed, and ultimately the snails themselves started floating and now both sexes have the bubble-making-skillz, which are no longer directly related to making eggs. There are other adaptations that make them good at a sea-faring life, too (Figure 3). The shell is flat and thin(2) - which keeps it from sinking fast, and it's counter-shaded (dark on top, light on bottom) to make it harder to for predators to see.

Figure 3. Janthina janthina is well adapted to a flying lifestyle.  


Why is it good to be in the pleuston(3)? Because it's delicious! J. janthina float along waiting to bump into delicious tautonomical prey: Velella velella

OMG! IT'S A TAUTONOMICAL FOOD CHAIN!!!

And that topic will be covered ... Next time, on Species species of the Week week.




References and miscellany:


(2) Most land snails have super thin shells, because shells are heavy to carry on land. But marine snails often have thick shells, because it's easier to carry thick shells under water, and there's some nasty crabs out there that would like nothing better than escargot.

(3) Wait, what's the pleuston, again?  Well it's like the neuston, only for the big guys.


Mollusk Muzik # 2 OR Even Mollusks Have Weddings

It turns out I was kind of serious about Mollusk Muzik series.  Relevant songs have started popping into in my head recently. This whole thing kind of reminds me of that sketch they would do on Whose Line Is It Anyway? Whatever, I sort of liked that show.  

So here's Molluk Muzik #2 (+ Bonus B-side at the end of the post).

Two out of the three title characters here are mollusks, and the other is one of my favorites:
Clam, Crab, Cockle, Cowrie
Joanna Newsom
Album: Milk-Eyed Mender

(Or if you prefer to be completely charmed by a live performance)

Ms. Newsom also makes my favorite mollusk reference ever in Inflammatory Writ:

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Can I just....

This makes me happy today, and I could use a jump start, so here:


I was not aware that there was an awesome Lego video for this song.  And it makes me so happy and at peace.  

I'm considering a Mollusk Muzik series ("Radular Tunes To Grow a Shell By"?)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Species sort-of of the Week week #5 OR On the benefits of a tautonomical diet

I'm sure you've heard the conspiracy theory that sea slugs are involved in a major trans-species arms smuggling operation. Well, your humble narrator has done some investigative journalism for which she is completely unqualified and can tell you, the rumors are true. That's why I'm cheating today, starting a Species species of the Week week with a nudibranch that's not even close to a tautonym (2).  Here is the culprit:

Blue Dragon
Glaucus atlanticus(1)

Figure 1. Glaucus atlanticus - the Blue Dragon (nudibranch).  Holy Daenerys Targaryen, Batman! Am I right?! This thing is crazy, and if your heart doesn't explode just a little bit when you see this and contemplate that you share the earth with this creature, well ... I can only sputter my disbelief.  Credit where credit is due.
Ok, so it looks cool, fine. But why does it deserve the [ahem, rather distinguished] honor of being a Species species of the Week week (weak?) when it's not even a tautonym (but see (2))?!  Well, there was a passage in the Wikipedia entry:

G. atlanticus preys on other, larger pelagic organisms: the dangerously venomous Portuguese Man o' War Physalia physalis; the by-the-wind-sailor Velella velella; the blue button Porpita porpita; and the violet snail, Janthina janthina. Occasionally, individual Glaucus become cannibals given the opportunity. 

Did you catch that? Almost every major prey item for this nudibranch is a tautonym (and Physalia physalis is just obnoxiously close - what a jerk)! Now I'm not saying that the diet of this slug is explained by the possession of a highly sophisticated taste - if I do say so myself - in grammar.  For one, though I admittedly haven't done the research to back this up, I feel like it's safe to assume the emergence of slug's diet predates the naming of these prey species. But still...what are the odds? Really, I'd love to know what the odds are if anyone is patient enough to figure that out. 

In the next few tautonym posts (3), I'll cover a few of the double-named prey of the Blue Dragon - except definitely not that tease Physalia physalis.

But now back to the arms smuggling operation...

So, of course I'm all fixated on the improbability of an almost exclusively tautonomical diet, when I am reminded that what's even cooler, at least to most people, is that this diet is also the slug's defense.  When the slug consumes jellies, it also eats the stinging cells (Figure 2).  The slug then puts these cnidocytes into its own flesh (the cerata, specifically, which are the long finger-like projections that make this slug look so flamboyant). Anything that tries to attack the slug gets stung.

Figure 2. This is why it hurts, y'all. I know, my eyes just glaze over too when I see diagrams in the pastel color palette of academic textbooks (haven't they figured that out yet?). But this really is one of the better diagrams of how Cnidocytes work - terrifying.
So the slug has basically stolen poisoned harpoons from the jellies and incorporated them into it's own body so it becomes super-invulnerable. This, of course, reeks of Hollywood script possibilities (whoops, it appears I've been scooped. SPOILER ALERT: it doesn't end well for the invulnerable trans-species defense idea). Here is a National Geographic clip demonstrating the awesomeness of the Blue Dragon (4). There is, of course, a word for this process of stealing cnidocytes and deploying them against your enemies: Bioterrorism.  No, well maybe, but the real word is Kleptocnidae.

Next up: Goodyear Mollusks.

References and miscellany (5):

(1) Pokemon disambiguation found here, in French.

(2) G. atlanticus was, however, the first (of only two) species named in the genus Glaucus, so according to my theory of tautonyms, it could have theoretically been Glaucus glaucus. And, frankly, if I'm going to editorialize here, atlanticus is a misleading species name (though hardly the only one) as the distribution of this species is not restricted to only the Atlantic ocean.

(3) Read: Until I get bored

(4) Editorial aside: Why does everyone now have these narrators that are so over the top for nature videos?! THis guy sounds so incredulous and has the dumbest comments.  This is why I like David Attenborough and Marty Stouffer. They get it: nature sells itself and doesn't need a monster truck voice-over to make it exciting. That's another soapbox for another day though.

(5) Does Blogger have a reference management software?  Rearranging these is getting rul old.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Coming in off the mud OR Terrestrial Radulas

There is a certain euphoria to be felt when your foot hits the first piece of truly solid ground coming in off the mud. Traversing the mud for hours at a time is a freaking slog, sure, but what's more surprising about it is how a short time on a mudflat subsumes every other walking experience you've ever had. You don't think, "Walking in the mud is hard!" but, "Walking is hard!" because mud is the only walking your body remembers at that exhausted, oxygen-starved, moment. In that incalculably small instant your foot gains leverage on something hard, the world suddenly becomes a different place: the curtain lifts and true enlightenment as to the ease with which walking can actually be accomplished is achieved. This temporarily endows you with a giddy sense of unlimited power and endless possibility. I suppose I get a little high off it. 

I worked what was hopefully my last tide of the season yesterday. So, to celebrate my return to a mostly terrestrial lifestyle for the next 6 months, I'ma post some short videos of land-based gastropods I took this summer during short visits to terra firma.  


Video 1: Slugga vs. Mushroom


video

My remarkable niece came out for her first PNW visit this summer (and I guess her parents came with her too...) and we went on a walkabout in the Anacortes Community Forest Lands (1).  I spotted this slug (2). As my friend Brad just pointed out, you never really see slugs doing anything, mostly they just slug along.  So seeing this one chow down on a mushroom was sweet.  I had Attenborough dreams in my head, as I was recording this, of getting a long clip and speeding it up, time-lapse style.  Oh well, this is what you get, you can fill in the gaps in your head.  Maggie is/was in a "What does the cow say?" phase, so we stepped up the challenge.  I'm still not clear on what a slug does say, but they probably say it veeeeery slooooowly (thank you very much folks! come back tomorrow, completely different show!).

Video 2: Snail vs. Lettuce

video


The video narrates itself (witness my mad iMovie skillz - stock soundtrack and everything!).  The snails are translucent (!!!) and so freaking fast (!!!), relatively speaking of course (3). Unfortunately, the beating heart of the snail doesn't show up on the video, but I could see it when I got close. When I have the chance I love to garden so I am not particularly attached to these buggers beyond nerd-fascination, but - **Note: I didn't actually eat any of the snails, at least knowingly or intentionally. I gave up eating mollusks (actually all sea creatures) for Lent years ago and have been clean since.



References and miscellany:
(1) ACFL is by far one of the most awesome things about Anaco.  Huge tracts of lands owned by the city just for cruising around.
(2) I sure don't know what kind of slug it is.  2 Points if you can ID it for me.
(3) Previous Attenborough aspirations notwithstanding, this video is also in real-time.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Field Season Missive #3 OR This Is What It Would Be Like If David Bowie Were a Marine Ecologist

Here's what I did today:


Figure 1.  My trajectory today.  Note, the conversion factor for walking in mud is approximately 1 mud mile = 700,000 regular miles.



Here's what it looked like at Wy.214:
Figure 2. Me 'n my trusty quarter-meter quadrat.  Actually this is quadrat 2.0, the first edition was broken. We be countin' snails.
My dad hung out on the trail running along this part of the bay, and I radioed(1) my measurements back to him for data recording purposes. There were more than a few Major Tom moments (ooh this one is cool!), but it more or less worked, and I didn't get my dad stuck in the mud again.


References and miscellany:
(1) Yeah I thought that looked wrong too, so I looked it up, and that really is how you spell it, go figure.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Occupational Hazards OR The Massacre of a Manicure

Field work, she is a cruel mistress. For what she gives in snails, she takes back two-fold in personal injury. The system is just primed for misery: if you do it like me, you spend your winters sitting at the computer and/or listening to people talk for hours on end (1). Muscles atrophy, and I can hear a soft "click" every time a ubiquitin is attached to my muscle proteins, targeting them for degradation. Callouses are resorbed, melanin dispersed, and the smell of what could politely be called "ocean musk" finally airs out of my car upholstery.  Then, come April or so, I walk out of my office, blinking, and it's a 0 - 60 transition. 

GO! RUN! CARRY! LIFT! THROW! HOLD AWKWARD POSITIONS FOR AN EXTENDED PERIOD OF TIME! 

In celebration of the upcoming start of the London Olympics, I am proposing three new events, at which I would excel (as long as the olympics were at the end of the field season):

1. 300m Mudflat Traverse: Sprint the length of your transect at top speed! Fight the mudsuck as your feet sink somewhere between 1-8" with every step, if you're lucky. This event includes 2-3 return trip/s, depending on how many things you forgot on shore.  Bonus points for outrunning the return tide.  

2. The 300m Rebar Portage: Carry 10 3' sections of 1/2" rebar with only your wimpy left hand down the same transect (does not have to be completed at a sprint, in fact, that could be dangerous). Alternate technique: carry 25 sections of 1/2" rebar with two hands, but relinquish the ability to disloge your boots from the mud, because your hands are full - it's your call.

3. The Crouch-and-Count Endurance Trials: This event is the more challenging cousin to the kneel-and-count, which is what the amateurs without leaks in the knees of their boots participate in. This is also my least favorite event. Count all the snails in a 1m space, and DON'T LOSE COUNT, or you'll have to start all over! Repeat this 40-50 times ... a day ... throughout the summer. A tremendous way to put your love of science and supposed fasciation with mollusks to the test. Scored based on accuracy, speed, and penalized for the number of times you change position.

My whole body hates the beginning of the field season, for which it has been so poorly primed. Hands suffer the most. I don't wear gloves because I can't feel what I'm doing. So the constant immersion in 50 degree saltwater (the Pacific doesn't really warm up, people, though on warm days the mud does mitigate the situation) softens my skin, and the oysters finish the job, slicing up my fingers, which, thanks to the winter hiatus, resemble 10 individual servings of Polly-O String Cheese in, color, toughness, and grip strength. For the first few weeks, my hands cramp constantly. The mud gets so far under my fingernails, it stays there until November - not for lack of scrubbing, though, mind you! 

My fingernails themselves take the most abuse. They are my most important tools in field work (3), but trying to use them while they are wet and soft shapes them into a complex and rugged topography. The surface is ground to a fine matte finish by the sediment. For this reason, I typically restrict the distribution of polish on my body to my toes. But this summer, I was a bridesmaid in my friend Karen's wedding. Sometimes I try to look like a grown up, and to match Karen's wedding (WITNESS her craftiness!), we all got our nails did like fancy ladies. Here is a chronicle of what happens to a manicure when you return to work on the mudflats. I apologize in advance for the poor quality images.

T = 0
Figure 1. Nails on before my first day of returning to work. Oooh, so fancy! 

Wedding was Saturday night. This (Figure 1) is Monday morning. The Disney Princess  band-aid (Jasmine?) on the left middle finger was actually preventative. I cut the skin on the inside of that joint, down to the tendons, incidentally, with brand new tin snips the week before, and wanted to protect the healing cut (2)


T = 1
Figure 2. Hands post-day one. Decidedly less fancy.
By the end of day one (Figure 2), on which I was actually working on carpentry, I have gained a net of one band aid (I evidently tore the skin on my right pinkie pretty badly by scraping it on a plastic valve and have no idea why that index finger was bleeding, but was able to remove the one from the left middle finger) and you'll notice the polish hasn't fared very well.  It starts receding from along the edges and the cuticles, just look at it go!

T = 2
Figure 3.  Wear and tear on fingernails after two days of being a marine biologist.  

On day 2, I was out in the mud, counting snails, and I had so many cuts, I thought it wise to wear a really thin glove on my right hand. The Michael Jackson technique worked, and the nails on my right hand fared pretty well, but we are seeing definite recession of the polish on the left (Figure 3).  This is also evidenced by the dirt under left but not right fingernails.  The only reason I am wearing fewer band-aids, however, is that the glove sucked one off.  


T = 3
Figure 4.  Cleaned hands after Day 3. Note also, healing gash on right pinkie.
I wasn't able to favor my right hand with a cushy glove on day, three, and it shows (Figure 4).  There goes the polish on those fingers as well.   

T = 4
Figure 5.  Cleaned hands after day 4.  My nails really look like crap.
Day 4 was more of the same (Figure 5).  At this point I thought about doing image analysis and mapping the loss of area of painted nail over time.  But I got lazy.  If my pictures were better, it wouldn't be too hard.  

Well at this point I felt badly every time I looked at my massacred manicure, so I took off the polish entirely.

T > 5
Figure 6. Still residual dirt under my nails, but devoid of polish.

Back to plain, old, Emily hands (Figure 6).  But slightly stronger and tougher.  




Ok, I'm sick of looking at pictures of my beat-up hands.  



References and miscellany:
(1) Didn't they just tell us that 3 hours of sitting a day is enough to shorten your life by 2 years!  HOLY SEDENTARY LIFESTYLE! Yes they did. Who can sit for less than 3 hours a day?!
(2) Ok, maybe my clumsiness also contributes to my spate of field injuries.  We are all our own worst enemies. 
(3) Maybe tied with teeth?