First – entropy of our lab continues. It was so clean on that first morning. Oh well.
Second – we estimate that we have spent a cumulative 37 hours clipping PoD (“Potential of Diversity”… a metric we invented… sorry, ecololgists!) toothbrush bristles into sterile bags, and from there emptying bristles into sterile 1.5 uL microtubes. Sometimes it is best not to think about how those hours could have instead been used (note: this doesn’t include an estimated 50 hours we have spent collecting these samples in the first place, in the field).
Over just a few field days, James and I have already collected a thousand new voucher specimens (as in, actual museum vouchers… not dust/propagules on toothbrushes!). We have returned some great stuff – and there is plenty more to come!
Amongst the photos: a Thin Layer Chromatography plate showing chemistry of 25 of my collections…. lichen compounds are needed to identify these organisms to species; an ascus (with 8 spores; can’t remember why? google meiosis!) of Pertusaria propinqua… taken thru my microscope; toothbrushes covered in lichen propagules, in ziplocs/bondage; frozen leaves of Rhododendron catawbiense on the frozen summit of Blood Mtn, where I wanted to die on account of numbness and for lack of any finger mobility whatsoever (you know it is BAD NEWS when Rhodo leaves fold like that!); Parmotrema mellissii under UV light, showing a UV+ reaction indicative of the presence of alectoronic acid; some paper bags of a couple of our plots, showing the raw locality data; the DINGO (aka: PoD window); James and Erin having a field day!