Tuesday, April 1, 2008

M.I.A in NV

Finals + spring break = No posting. I'm sorry, my faithful readership of 4.

We have moved into spring quarter now at Davis and I have a new job. I was TA-ing to pay my way in the fall and winter, but now I'm working on a research job and it's absolutely incredible. I'm working as a research assistant/consultant on a pollination study at Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge in Nevada.

Calochortus flexuosus "winding mariposa lily"

We're studying the pollination and reproductive biology of 11 rare and endemic plants at this amazing refuge in the Mojave Desert.

For one week each month I will be flying out there and staying for a week in a trailer in the desert, taking data and collecting flowers to analyze back in the lab in Davis. It's like a free desert vacation once a month, but I get paid!

Here are some highlights:

  • Breakfast-time in the trailer, what a view!

I saw a coyote, and heard a den of pups yipping and howling

  • Fresh water springs supply water to the surface of the desert here, and it evaporates, leaving this incredible layer of salt.

  • Some plants, like this Ivesia kingii (top) and Nitrophila mohavensis (bottom) are adapted to the salt and grow straight up through it.

  • The entomologists catch the insects that are pollinating our plants, like this Anthophoran bee with its huge proboscis.
There is much more to come folks, plus some updates that I need to catch up on (mushrooms, Easter egg dying party, etc.)


MeesheMama said...

Ohhh, jealous. Jealous. Look at that camper.

Carlene said...

Oh, man, call me crazy but a desert vacation (even a working one) once a month sounds like heaven. I love the desert.

That's why I live in Illinois?