This month begins the third and final installment of the three-year Moorea Biocode project. When our flight arrived yesterday at 5:30 am it was already full daylight. I can tell this will be something to get used to. The first wave to arrive was me, John, and Art. Art has been here before so he showed us the ropes. One of the first things we did was set up the lab (did you think I was going to say sleep, or eat, or shower...so did I).
Over the course of the next seven weeks we will be joined but twenty researchers coming and going as their time allows. We will be relying on their expertise to help us identify the animals in the groups that haven't been as thoroughly documented in years past. One of the holes in our knowledge is in phylum Mollusca, and one of the experts, Yasunori Kano, has already arrived to help out. So what does a group of scientists do after 13+ hours of travel, little to no sleep, inconsistently scheduled meals, and already having shown our dedication by setting up our stuff in the lab? We go collecting of course!
"Hmmm," you're thinking, "I thought you said you were in Moorea, you know, beaches, palm trees, coral reefs, all that jazz?" How right you are, but for our first collecting foray we decided to hit up some freshwater habitat which hasn't been as extensively sampled. John also found some interesting land snails in a tree on the edge of the stream, and Yasunori took a look around the estuary where the stream empties into the ocean and found some interesting animals as well. The estuarine area was full of these crabs:
But, we didn't collect any, they are so large and abundant that it's impossible that they were missed in the previous two years. After collecting we headed down to the grocery store to stock up on breakfast and lunch food. Sometime in the store I hit my wall and entered a quasi-zombie state. We put the food away and hit the lab for a while and then staggered off to our bungalows.
Only it was night. And now, please enjoy a picture of that jazz you were asking about earlier. We'll hit this up next.