Blog for 2010-06-10

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Marian (Marlee) Morris

It was another hot day at Lambir Hills National Park! Today was the first day we had free to work on our small group projects in the area. Most of us got an early start and headed out on the main trails or to the CTFS research plot to start our sampling. My project is to determine if there is a difference in the diversity of subterranean ants in different soil types. Sam and I finished collecting our bottles and built our subterranean ant traps by cutting holes in the sides of the bottles and baiting the traps with Milo (sorry Sachi).

After the final product was completed we walked to the research plot, only about 35 minutes away. We then found sites with 3 different soil types and set our traps. We got back from the plot just in time to hear updates on everyone's projects. After that, Frank gave a really interesting lecture on the phylogeny of birds. It's pretty cool how DNA analysis can provide us with the real genetic relationship between species. I never would have guessed that such obvious character traits like long legs (herons, flamingos, storks etc.) are only examples of convergent evolution and don't necessarily constitute a genetic relationship at all. The lecture was good preparation for our “lab” tomorrow which consists of bird watching at 6am! I hope we get to see some really fun birds and I'm sure the sunrise will be beautiful.

The weather was wonderful and sunny all day (I have the sunburn to prove it) but it started pouring during dinner. This unfortunate turn of events ruined my plans to go into the forest to collect frogs for my taxon project because while frogs may enjoy the rain, people don't. I've collected and photographed 4 species of frogs so far (with help from Chris, Rachel, Sachi, and Alex), and hope to collect a few more species before leaving Lambir. I think that's it so I'll leave you with a few pictures of my frogs and call it a night!