September 05, 2007

Field Work Today

It's field work day today. A team of intrepid mycologists and molecular biologists is heading to Wachusett Mountain to gather specimens and study the ecology of the local mycofauna and generally get out of our labs and offices in favor of a few hours in the real world. The timing couldn't be better on a number of counts. First, we're having problems with our sequencer software, which is why I still can't say whether or not the Vietnamese Lentinula MaBi and I have been working on is a new species or not. The DNA and primers are all dressed up with nowhere to go, so they're sitting on ice until the thing gets working again. Second, the weather is going to be perfect today, sunny and about 70°. There's been no rain, so we're going to stick to naturally damp areas. The dry conditions aren't as much of a problem for me as for some because I'm going to be working largely on polypores and hymenochaetes which get at the moisture locked up in the wood on which they live.

As I'm working as a TA for Introductory Biology this semester, I'd normally be sitting in on the lecture this morning. I spoke to the prof yesterday and he's assured me that he won't kill me for skipping out to go mushroom hunting today. I don't mind sitting in, but I must admit that listening to lectures on material with which I'm already very familiar gets boring to the point of my nodding off at times. The class is covering the history of evolutionary theory right now, so they'll be getting to a review of how Darwin came up with the material for his first book today. I can afford to be elsewhere this time around.

Look out, Inonotus spp., here I come!

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