Monday, November 23, 2009

Museum Happenings

It's been a relatively busy week at HQ. In addition to lending field support to our agents throughout the globe (Australia, New Zealand, Moorea) with supplies and data entry, we kept up a brisk pace of other activities as well.

In the picture below, Jenna is spreading the Geneious love. She is now so skilled in the program that she is sharing her knowledge with others. JD is hanging on her every word. Also, Julie is delighted by ossicles, the calcarious particles in the skin of sea cucumbers. She is preparing slides so the ossicles can be viewed under a microcscope. They are often a diagnostic character in distinguishing species.

John is taking a break from the land snails of Madagascar to ID some snails that were given to us from marine lakes in the Pacific. Not to worry, the 10,000 lots of land snails that recently arrived from Madagascar will not let themselves be forgotten. They have numbers on their side and know that John needs them for his PhD work.

Before we put tissue samples in plates to be sent off and sequenced, it is helpful to have an accurate ID on the specimen, so Gustav called for backup. Harry Lee is an expert malacologist whom Gustav recruited to help us ID to species some of the snail families in our collection.

Jada and Anthony are plating some some her Moorea specimens for sequencing. Not pictured, the actual plates. I think they're hidden behind a bag of subsample vials.

This was Walter's highly anticipated vermetid ID-stravaganza. As you can see it was well attended, even though it was postponed until Thursday due to schedule conflicts. These worm snails can be easily confused, not only between species, but with other families of snails such as the Turritellidae, and even with actual worms, a completely different phylum (Annelida). We are now armed with the necessary arsenal to fend off such mis-IDs.

We have a shortened week due to the Thanksgiving holiday. After gorging ourselves on turkey we'll be ready to spring back into action. Or if not spring, at least sluggishly haul ourselves up to our desks.

:) Mandy

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