Thank you Don!
Wednesday, October 19, 2016
by Lily Khadempour
An Atta cephalotes leaf-cutter ant carries a flake of Quaker Instant Oatmeal. Photo: Don Parsons
Back in May of 2014, the Currie Lab was contacted by Don Parsons. He is a retired professional photographer that took a liking to insects and he wanted to help us out with any photos that our lab might need. We jumped at the opportunity!
Atta cephalotes worker pupae, developing past their larval stage. The youngest pupa is on the left, while the furtherst to the right is almost about to eclose. Photo: Don Parsons.
Don brought his enthusiasm and fantastic attitude into our lab and we got some fantastic photos out of it. He was also very helpful in teaching us how to do macro photography, so we could do some of our own.
An Acromyrmex virgin queen with a worker. Photo: Don Parsons
The collaboration with Don and the Currie lab has been very fruitful. Don was one of the winners of the Why? Files Cool Image Contest http://whyfiles.org/2015/2015-cool-science-image-contest-winners/.
An Atta worker carrying a dead ant to the dump. Photo: Don Parsons
Of course, in the Currie Lab, we focus on doing research and Don's photos have been valuable in conveying our research in publications. You can see his work in Gina Lewin's paper in PLoS One about the microbial communities from Atta colombica refuse dumps https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26999749 and in Lily Khadempour's paper in Molecular Ecology about the substrate specificity of the fungal cultivar of Atta cephalotes ants http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/mec.13872/full.
An Atta worker uses her sharp mandibles to cut through the tough central vein of a leaf. Photo: Don Parsons
We have also used his photos in countless outreach events and posters and will surely continue to use them with our upcoming work.
So with this, we'd like to thank Don for everything that he has done for us and hopefully we will collaborate more with him in the future! Thanks Don!
You can find Don on twitter: https://twitter.com/bugpix1