Day 9 in Borneo: Finding the Needle in the Haystack.

“Today has been a long day in the field. We were specifically looking for a species only collected twice. We are not even certain of the genus and there is debate if it is a Frullania or if it belongs to its own genus. However, it is a very distinctive plant. If we can do DNA studies it will resolve this question once and for all. The trouble is the original locality data is very vague as is often the case with older collections. We must have searched 1000 trees and shrubs between Juan, myself and Monica. It is like looking for a needle in the haystack. Well……. we are still trying to find the right haystack to look for it! We collected probably over a dozen Frullania species today, but we could not find the plant we are looking for. We have seen the material that it was described from, and we should recognize it in the field.

So, tomorrow we start the search again. Perhaps we might find the right haystack where it likes to live. Then we just have to find the needle.”

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This is the drying process after we collect directly from the field. Lucky interns get to fold hundreds of envelopes to hold dried specimen until they arrive back at the museum!

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