Our indentured, I mean interns are leaving! The Rothfels lab was lucky enough to host two fantastic volunteers this summer–Jonathan Qu and Sraavya Sambara. They were awesome! And while it seems like they’ve just arrived, rumor has it that summer is almost over. Very sad for us! I have a suspicion, however, that we haven’t seen the last of these two…
The Rothfels Lab met up with their fellow lovers of plants at our annual meeting held jointly by Botanical Society of America, American Society of Plant Taxonomists, and The Fern Society (among other groups). This year we travelled to Fort Worth, Texas! We rolled into our swanky digs after spending some days in the Oklahoma heat and dust. The conference, held at the Omni Hotel, was a small and enjoyable experience! Carl presented hot-off-the-server/sequencer data on sequence-capture approach to multi-locus nuclear phylogenetics of ferns. Ingrid presented her phylogeographic and population genetics study on Draba oligosperma from the Greater Rocky Mountain area. Forrest presented his current work on the evolution of corm lobation in Isoetes. All-in-all we were a well rounded group of Berkeley folk!
Tours were available to the joint property of BRIT (Botanical Research Institute of Texas) and the Forth Worth Botanic Garden.
The Botany meeting was in Fort Worth this year (post on that to follow), and in advance of the meeting, James Beck organized fieldwork in the Wichita and Arbuckle Mountains, Oklahoma. Over the course of the week we found 27 species of ferns and lycophytes (I think that was our final tally), which seems quite respectable to me! Our team included James from Wichita State, me (Carl), Forrest, and Ingrid from UC Berkeley, George Yatskievych from UT Austin, and Layne Huiet, Wei-Ting, and Tzu-Tong Kao from Duke. Good times and chiggers were had by all.
At the fieldhouse we had a very small very fiesty visitor (a Copperhead?). No botanists or snakes were injured in the recording of this video.
The Rothfels lab was blessed with a visit from a proud shocker, the legendary Dr. James Beck, of Wichita State. “Shocker” — one who harvests wheat into shocks? Or, in this case, an animated shock itself:
James was here for a labwork blitz, refining a protocol for generating genome-scale data from herbarium specimens using double-digest RAD sequencing (ddRAD). Over the course of a week, he and Ingrid ground through two plates of samples, from beginning to end. Very excited to see how this works out!
In between pipetting and bead clean-ups, James squeezed in some spore counting from apomictic Myriopteris gracilis (32 spores/sporangium = apomict; 64 spores/sporangium = sexual). In a flurry of glycerol and microscopy, he was able to count his 600th specimen–look for the results soon in a journal near you.
James’ visit also provided us with an excuse to get outside and look for some lycophytes! Over the course of some happy tromping in Marin Co. we found both Isoetes howellii and Isoetes nuttallii, as well as a nice smattering of ferns.