Monday, April 29, 2013

An Introduction to Creation Care: A Talk Given at Davenport Church of Christ, Red Deer, April 12, 2013

The following is the introduction to a series of talks I gave in Red Deer on April 12-14, 2013, on creation care. This text provides the gist of what I said, but of course I riffed a bit. I also had PowerPoint images to go along with this talk. Note that when I talk about creation, I am in no way disparaging evolution. One can affirm creation and evolution, without doing too much damage to the definition of either.

I opened with a story that I did not write down, about my bizarre encounter with a strange neon blue marine worm in Halifax, NS, in which I picked up this creature and accidentally dropped it. Its body burst in two, white liquid poured out, and then its smooth face curled up in my direction, its face peeled back and this white puffy flesh emerged. On the end of the flesh were two black, curved fangs. Needless to say, I ran away pretty fast. Only later did I learn that these polychaetes turn a bright blue during the breeding season. They swim to the surface, where part of their body detaches and explodes in a shower of gametes. The white flesh I saw was its esophagus, which it shoots out of its mouth to impale its prey.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Ceratium, Alberta's Carnivorous Alga

Ceratium hirundinella, featured above, is a single-celled dinoflagellate, which may very well be the coolest non-dinosaur name given to a creature. Its name is well-deserved: Ceratium is a monster. It is the fastest moving of the algae, and it is a carnivore, actively hunting down other algae while also generating food from the sun. During periods of stress, they can form cysts that are resistant to winter temperatures and dehydration. The hardiness of these cysts has enabled Ceratium to spread throughout the northern hemisphere. It is apparently also making inroads in South America.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Dileptus, the Carnivorous Elephant of Albertan Ponds

I'm getting more comfortable using my microscope to identify the incredible diversity of organisms living in Alberta's ponds. Rather than keep this to myself, I thought I'd post every now and then on some critter I've identified. Of everything I have seen so far, the species featured below has given me the greatest heebie-jeebies.