Sampling three states in three weeks!
A while back I was collecting Eucalyptus samples for my current postdoctoral work with Dr Rose Andrew. Working on several species within the section Adnataria (boxes and ironbarks) requires that we collect samples throughout eastern Australia, from Queensland all the way down to Victoria, as our focal species occupy grassy woodlands. This is a huge area! It's often like looking for a needle in a haystack. But, we got it done - with some laughs and cries of frustration along the way!
Unfortunately, our primary storage freezer died not long after this collection work, and a number of our samples became damaged through the subsequent thawing, in spite of our valiant attempts to rush down to campus and save them. Luckily, we were provided some 'extra' cash in order to recollect those damaged samples. (We have a very nice HoS you see). So, we frantically assessed our samples and developed our game plan for recollection... before such an offer went up in smoke.
In three frenzied weeks, myself and the very apt Tim Collins, went through New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland re-finding our valuable vouchers. Accurate GPS points and tree tags are such a blessing!! Re-finding these sites was definitely easier than searching for potential sites. We averaged about 800 km of driving a day so that we could re-collect 15 precious samples. Partly fun, partly crazy. After a total of ~6,000 km we can agree that we love air conditioning, ipods, cruise control, botan-izing and 'healthy car snacks'. We can also agree to have strong feelings of dislike for road works, flies and our pole pruners... which broke and got caught in a tree. It took about 45 mins, multiple car manoeuvring and some serious ingenuity and brute strength to get the head of the pruners back out of the tree!