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‘Twas the night before winter break, when all through the lab

Not a creature was stirring, not even the pet crab*;

The pipettes were racked on the benches with care,

In hopes that the lab fairy would soon be there;

The grad students were nestled all snug in their beds

While visions of great data danced in their heads…

Late in the night, I went in to let samples thaw,

And then, in a twinkling, I heard a gnaw;

And the prancing and pawing of each little paw

As I drew in my head, and was turning around,

Down the flow hood the lab fairy came with a bound.

She was dressed in all canvas, from her head to her foot

And her clothes were all tarnished with field sand and soot;

A bundle of live-traps she had flung on her back,

And behind her trailed her lab rats, the mightiest of packs…

She spoke not a word, but went straight to her work,

And filled all the tip boxes; then turned with a jerk,

And laying her finger aside of her nose,

And giving a nod, up the flow hood she rose;

She sprang to her sleigh, to her team gave a whistle

And away the rats flew like the down of a thistle;

But I heard her exclaim, ere she drove out of sight,

“Happy lab work to all, and to all a goodnight!”

(Adapted from “The Night Before Christmas”)

*Technically he is a ghost shrimp, named Cooper

We celebrated the holidays before we all dispersed for break by having a combined party for the birthday of our fearless leader (Liz Hadly!) and a white elephant gift exchange (<$5 for a ridiculous but semi-functional gift). Here’s a photo of us all with our exciting presents!

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Ever since I took a course on vertebrate evolution my freshman year of college, I have been decorating my family’s Christmas tree as a —- phylogeny!!! Every year a different taxon gets the “top” of the tree. This year, to my mother’s dismay, the invertebrates took the top! It is surprisingly hard to find invertebrate ornaments, but I’ve managed to collect a jellyfish, snail, spider, and starfish. Next come the vertebrates, starting with fish, moving to amphibians, reptiles (turtles only so far), birds and dinosaurs (intermingled and loving it), and lastly, the mammals, with humans on the very bottom. Luckily I’ve loved animals ever since I was a little kid, so you could say my ornament collection was pre-adapted for phylogeny building…

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Happy holidays from all of us in the Hadly lab!

- Alexis (@AlexisMychajliw)