Monday, November 16, 2009

Meanwhile, back at HQ... continues apace. With Gustav and John out of the country (as well as Sea, Sarah, Art and François) we set our noses to the grindstone and held down the fort with a skeleton crew. We did an admirable job, but now Gustav and John are back so we canceled Pajama Thursdays, received our commendations, and abandoned the tiller. But of course they didn't return empty handed. John was touring musuems in Europe photographing holotypes for his (and Chelsey's) research on land snails. "Type" specimens are the individual specimens on which species descriptions are based. The picture below is of the holotype of Ampelita souliana, which John photographed while in Paris.

Take a look at these pictures and see if you can tell who went to Paris with John and who went to France at the Epcot Food and Wine Festival.

Gustav also returned bearing gifts. In addition to several hundred specimens from Moorea (a small sampling of what we will face in December when the whole expedition heads back to Gainesville), Gustav also brought some of his field notes for us to enter into a spreadsheet. We had already begun this task on Sarah's behalf so we knew what we were facing.

If you can read this you're either a huge invert-nerd, a cryptologist, or Gustav. Don't limit yourself, you might be more than one.

A couple more pictures of what we've been up to: Jenna is becoming a genius at Geneious, a software program for aligning DNA sequences.

We aim to sequence to bulk of the species in our ethanol preserved collection in the coming months.

Also, Derek has begun tackling the crab family Portunidae, the swimming crabs. Using a key (and the assistance of Gustav) he has been assigning the correct species name to the specimens which have either been unidentified (or identified only to family level) or misidentified in the past.

Walter Kelly has also been busy identifying our collection of vermetid snails (family Vermetidae) and will be giving a presentation later today which will turn us all into expert vermetid IDers. Ok, maybe it'll take more than a day, but we can dream can't we, and we'll still have Walter around for a while to show us how it's done.

I hope all you field agents are remembering the sunscreen as you languish on various tropical isles!

:) Mandy

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