Notes from the Field

Recent Articles

1,000 Ascensions: Madagascar expedition

Climb 1,000 stairs, learn 1,000 new words, see 1,000 new things, share 1,000 conversations These are all just some of the steps involved in discovering new plant species and understanding plant biodiversity – or at least they were on my most recent trip to Madagascar in search of strange and wonderful plant life. The idea of 1,000 ascensions came to me on the second day in the field, on our way to Manongarivo Special Reserve – a protected area, managed by Madagascar National Parks in northwest Madagascar. As we came closer to Manongarivo, my colleagues explained a little about the park. In Malagasy, Manongarivo literally means “go up one thousand times” which refers to low mountains and hills that make up this region. If you want to go to Manongarivo, you better be prepared to go up 1,000...
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Librarian Lens: Plant Discovery In the Southern Philippines Expedition Two

In December of 2019, BRIT Librarian participated in expedition two of the Plant Discovery In the Southern Philippines project.
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NSF Funded Plant Discovery in the Southern Philippines Project December 2019 Expedition

Expedition 2, led by Peter Fritsch of BRIT, will include 20 Filipino and international participants (botanists and lichenologists) who will survey Negros Island and the Marilog Forest on the island of Mindanao over the month of December 2019.
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Summer in Paradise: Preserving Plant Genomes across Texas

This article was written by GGI-Gardens Summer 2019 Fellow, Seth Hamby. Texas is a state that you can drive through for 7 hours and still be in Texas, believe me we did it this summer! Because of its geographic location, geology, and rainfall gradient, Texas supports tons of different ecoregions, ecotones, and microhabitats that foster some of the highest biodiversity in the country, second only to California (obligatory “boo! hiss!”). Coming into the GGI-Gardens Fellowship I didn’t really know what to expect. I figured that we would devote most of our time to lab work and only get a few chances to go collecting out in the field. Little did I know that we would travel thousands of miles, spend countless hours in the field, collect amazing botanical wonders, and meet some of the coolest pla...
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Botanists Amidst the Texas Flora: A GGI Summer Fellowship

This article was written by GGI-Gardens Summer 2019 Fellow, Farahnoz Khojayori. Climbing up the Tobe Spring Trail over 7,000 feet elevation past rattlesnakes, tall evergreens, and countless thistles and shrubs I was not prepared for the view before me. With Mt. Livermore, to my left, as a tall indelible shadow providing shade against the hot July sun, I finally reached the spring. At a glance Tobe Spring seemed dry, and the small muddy ground was the only indication of this once integral water source. On closer look, however, numerous species of butterflies and moths could be seen gathered around the last remaining droplets of water. And next to them was a display of the most exuberant flowers of Aquilegia and many other plants I did not yet know. It was the most surreal ending to a summer...
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Peter Fritsch Reporting on Field Research in the Philippines

The first expedition to the Philippines has been going splendidly, with many hundreds of collections, photographs, DNA samples, and associated field data being collected by the team. The four areas to be surveyed are Mount Marilog, Mount Limbawon, and Mount Hamiguitan, all on the island of Mindanao, and several peaks on Camiguin Island just off the north coast of Mindanao. From left to right, Gordon McPherson (Missouri Botanical Garden), Peter Fritsch (BRIT), and Victor Amoroso (Central Mindanao University) at the Mount Marilog Guest House, where we conducted the first leg of the overall expedition. The vicinity of Mount Marilog has been unexplored botanically until now, and so we are expecting a number of plant and lichen species new to science as a result of our work. Peter Fritsch in th...
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A Trip to Seville Farms

by Alyssa B. Young
A couple of weeks ago, over half of the BRIT building was eerily empty for a day as the whole research department set off for a tour of Seville Farms, which is owned and operated by one of our board members, Billy Brentlinger. Seville Farms is a large-scale plant nursery providing annuals, perennials, and ground covers to numerous garden centers across Texas. The farms have five facilities containing over three million square feet! On this trip we visited the headquarters in Mansfield, Texas, and Billy and his right-hand-man John gave us an in-depth tour of the operations, start to finish.
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Yunnan, China

Dr. Peter Fritsch, BRIT’s VP of Research and Director of the Herbarium, is on a visiting scholarship from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, based at the Kunming Institute of Botany in Kunming, the capital of Yunnan Province. Peter went on a brief (8-day) field trip in late October-early November to far northeastern Yunnan Province and the bordering area of Guizhou Province.
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