Micronesia Field Work

Ph.D. student Else Demeulenaere is completing some more field work this week in the Marianas.  She started out with sampling the last remaining Serianthes nelsonii population on Guam last Thursday (one mother tree and a few saplings).  Now she is off to the island of Rota, the second southernmost island in the Mariana Archipelago, and then to Saipan, the largest of the Northern Marianas, collecting some more Serianthes.  Here is a little field update from her:

I collected from 20 trees on Rota. We took a long hike in the morning to the wild populations. I’m only done now after 1 am with putting all the samples with labels in vials with silica gel. For each tree I collected three samples, so that is 60 samples in total. Tired but very happy. The local people are very helpful, the forester made a device himself to get to the tall canopies of the Serianthes trees, much easier to pick. Tomorrow I’m going with a girl from Saipan, she is the endangered species manager from CNMI, we are going to try to locate some trees that are on an old map. I’ll try to use the slingshot to get leaves down from those populations. 

Beware Carnivorous Plants

halloweenWe had a great showing at the open house Halloween event today at the UA Museum.  Fun to see the kids build a venus flytrap out of styrofoam balls while being captivated by a close-up video of a venus flytrap in action.  Our life-size recreation of Elizabite really drew the kids in and scared a few of them.  Great event!

And you, whose pastime is to make midnight mushrooms…

Mushroom2016smThe Herbarium hosted another successful iNaturalist event as part of our Plants and Fungi of Alaska project. Mycologist Dr. Gary Laursen led 56 mushroom enthusiasts on a mushroom hike on the ski trails at the UAF campus.  Folks went into the woods and hunted for mushrooms (parasitic, saprophytic and mycorrhizal). What a spectacular sight it was when everybody returned with their “harvest” and spread them out on several fold-up tables. There were coral fungi, tooth fungi (incl. the shingled hedgehog), polypores (commonly known as bracket fungi), boletes, and of course the agarics. Thanks so much Gary for introducing us to the wonderful world of Alaska mushrooms and helping us to distinguish harmless and edible fungi from the small number of poisonous ones.