July 04, 2008

Florida Expedition: September 3-10

Guess who's coming to Florida?

A colleague from Harvard and I will be in North Florida to sample fungi and beetles from the area between September 3 and 10. The magnanimous Diego/James F/todabrilla has consented to put us up at his place for the week, insuring us of good company as well as saving two itinerant and impoverished graduate students the cost of a hotel. With our flight from Boston to Tampa now confirmed and lodging assured, I'll next be turning to securing the permits required to do our collecting legally. Flying into Tampa means that we'll have to make a three hour drive to Tallahassee, but it also saved us a ton of money on the cost of travel.

While our days will be filled with collecting, identifying and preserving specimens, I'm looking forward to seeing some old acquaintances in the evenings as well. I'll need to check into whether I can get access to some resources at Florida State (like a couple of microscopes), and in any case I expect to visit the campus and see a couple of my professors as well as attending a meeting of the Union of Freethinking Students. I'm certain I'll also pass at least one evening at Aladdin's Sheesha Café.

North Florida is one of the country's hottest biodiversity hotspots, renowned for its unique ecosystems and endemic species. Even though I spent five years investigating them on my own, it will be a whole new experience seeing them through eyes that have learned a great deal more about fungi and Coleoptera over the course of the past year. I must admit that it will be good to see the many venomous snakes that make field work in the area that much more exciting, too.

I could do without the Confederate flags, of course, but one doesn't see too many in the swamps and forests, anyhow.

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