Better Late than Never
I am long overdue for an update, but better late than never. In the months that have passed, I have participated in two expeditions, made two visits to the Smithsonian LAB, and attended the European Congress of Arachnology.
Cuba was a great success. We visited four sites across the island, collected thousands of samples, and met some great colleagues and friends.
Dominican Republic was a six week expedition organized by your-truly with 15 participants! In a 3-vehicle caravan, 4 Lewis and Clark College undergrads, 2 UC Berkeley undergrads, 2 University of Vermont graudate students, two Dominican arachnologists, 1 Cuban arachnologist, Ingi Agnarsson, Greta Binford and myself traversed the island of Hispaniola, collecting over 73,000 arachnids! We blogged and tweeted the entire expedition (http://www.islandbiogeography.org/blog.html) (twitter @CaribbeanBio)! We also spent a week in Dominican schools teaching kids about Arachnid Biodiversity!
I spent two separate weeks at the Smithsonian’s LAB admiring their streamlined Barcoding pipeline. During my stay I extracted DNA from over 2000 specimens, PCR’d 1600 specimens for COI, and sequenced 1000 of the PCRs! Talk about an efficient set-up, it was great to see and learn from their years of experience.
The European Congress of Arachnology, held in Slovenia, was a fantastic meeting with a wide range of attendees. I presented on Caribbean Biogeography of Centruroides scorpions, in a talk co-authored by Lorenzo Prendini and Rosemary Gillespie.