I am a graduate student at UC Berkeley studying the diversity and evolution of whelks. This summer I was sponsored by the NSF (USA) and JSPS (Japan) to work with Dr. Seiji Hayashi at Nagoya University in Japan to collect buccinid gastropod (whelk) tissue samples and examine whelk shell collections at musems throughout Japan. Sugoi! Some of the snails that I study are pictured to the right.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Vending Machines

Another thing that Japan has lots of are vending machines. LOTS! It is quite incredible. I did a simple survey of the vending machines in the area between my apartment and Science Building C, where the geological sciences are housed, and counted 17 vending machines. 17! This was walking within campus for about 6 minutes. Here are some of the highlights.If you think of these vending machines as species, you can see two different ones; the liquid-release-into-a-cup species (species A) and the plastic-bottle-dispensing species (species B). In the pictures above, all are species B, except the third one down with "Relax" written on it. On the Nagoya campus and in Japan in general, species B is much more common than species A. There is also a great deal of intraspecific variation within species B; in color, type of beverage dispensed, advertising, and overall size. Alas, I have too small a sample size to be able to characterize the variation within species A (N=1).

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