Field of Science

What do botanists do when not in their office or lab?

Field work!  Protecting biodiversity is a tough job, and biologists are racing against extinction, mostly from habitat loss, and now perhaps from climate change.  To help document and preserve plant biodiversity requires documenting species with specimens and in the case of rare species collecting seeds.  Usually you don't find important specimens growing in city parks, so field botanists end up in very remote areas where access can be difficult.  Sit down at a table of field botanists, buy them some beer, and ask them how many vehicle axles they've broken.  Ask them how many times they've been bogged down in the mud.  Ask them how many times they've been drenched trying to keep their specimens safe and dry.  Ask them about the worst illness or parasite they ever picked up in the field.  Everyone of them will have a story.  Even TPP has his blood enshrined in the CDC for bringing home a disease organisms fortunately without its vector.  Here's a nice promotional/educational film of a field expedition out of Kew Gardens on a plant collecting trip.  A short segment starting at about 6:30 shows you some views of the spiny forest in Madagascar.  HT to Agricultural Biodiversity who always finds the best stuff.


Unknown said...

So, when you're not living it up in the barely-have-to-do-anything environment of professing you get to go on vacation to exotic places? You really do have it easy.

The Phytophactor said...

Every now and then The Phactor stops to count all his money.