Wok (that means work)

12 08 2010

Wok started in the 1st secondary forest sub-plot, handily situated adjacent to camp. Looks like I won’t be losing weight here, I thought (Correctly).

Vojta in the midst of sub-plot 1F

Our collectors (ol wokman) were hired from the community and were ready to roll after quick tutorials, their minds focused on collecting gallers, miners, caterpillars, ants & spiders from foliage, trunks, epiphytes, well everything really.

What is a gall?

We worked the understorey first, then low storey saplings, then tagged trees (not in one day of course). This sub-plot took about 3 weeks to complete.

Sub-plot 1F (demise thereof)

Back in the lab, plant vouchers, miners, caterpillars, and galls required sorting and the latter three had to be prepared for rearing.

Workstations

Field Lab / Rearing Barn

I became known as ‘gall-man’, which sounds more like ‘goll-man’ in the native tongue, which sounds a bit like Gollum…

Gall assistant, Gibson, putting an emerged insect in a vial (rearing galls behind)

I had some teething issues with assistants (from the local community). The first two had not reached a sufficiently high grade in school so were not confident reading & writing English, required for form-filling.

...and a Parasitoid

A gall

Even Gibson, a grade 8er, surprised me when he described the colour of a twig-gall as ‘pink’, when in fact it was light brown. Ooh we did laugh! Little anomalies aside, things went well and our rearings produced plenty of parasitic wasps (the live one in the picture was about 3mm long), and midges, thrips, & coccids.

Walli Brus preparing a leaf frame, and Walli Martin (Walli = Brother)

Lab banter was of a high quality and often the industrious atmosphere was popped by prolonged shrieks of laughter and shouting.

Markus working hard

... 5 minutes later

And sometimes the drooping sun shone through the mist and the light outside would perform lustrous magic on the vegetation, and for a minute I would be enraptured. Then I would forget all that and kill another insect. Science init!

Light

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12 responses

12 08 2010
Les

You have a way of putting things! The “drooping sun, lustrous magic” immediately brought back images of similar moments in the rain forest in Sarawak. However, I wasn’t killing insects….actually I was probably trampling unknowingly on thousands of them, and with no scientific excuse……
Leslieee

12 08 2010
wozzer

Everyone, including my friend Rehana, is entranced by your blog. Your descriptions, using hardly any adjectives, evoke the jungle and what you are doing in technicolour. We all feel as if we are with you. So much so that I flinched when I encountered a parasitic wasp in your lab. Love the humour and the snaps of “industrious” helpers. Bill Bryson and all travel writers – rubbish compared to the “Adventures of Puppriss”.

Love x

13 08 2010
Mum

Gollum (good name!) I’m so glad to know and see more about what you’re doing, even though you’ve told me loads of times, makes more sense seeing the photos and I love the ‘light’ pic.

Love xxx

13 08 2010
puppriss

Mum, you are supposed to recognise that Gollum is the name of a hideously ugly dwarf-freak in Lord of the Rings, thus contrasting with me, who is not short. Still, thanks for reading 🙂 xx

13 08 2010
Donk

Dear Gollum,
Apart from being the hideously ugly (& ginger bearded) dwarf-freak that you are, you are one spawny b*stard.
The banter sounds almost as good as in the Juncoid and the pictures are awesome.
X

13 08 2010
Susan

Next time take a brolly with you for pasty limb shade or shall post one they have some lovely ones in M&S and you can take it back when you’ve finished with it!
Think all your blog is wonderful, what a fantastic experience. I now know all about what you’re doing and I’m here for advice!

xx

14 08 2010
Katy

I would like more explanation regarding the ‘tagged trees’. Who tagged them and what determines whether a trees is tagged or not? Awaiting your rapid response.

14 08 2010
puppriss

All trees >= 5cm diameter-at-breast-height (DBH) were tagged by BRC staff over the last year or so

15 08 2010
Katy

Thank you. All is clear now.

16 08 2010
Katy

Oh no it’s not clear. What is the relevance of 5 cm?

17 08 2010
puppriss

Oh Katy, you tiresome oik! The 5cm is fairly arbitrary. As there are so many saplings, it’s not feasible to tag them all. Also, at 5cm, the tree is more or less established and more likely to have herbivores.

15 08 2010
Mum

Knowing nothing about ‘Lord of the Rings’ I’m devastated that my handsome son could be tagged with such a horrible name, when you don’t look anything like that. How very dare they!

xxx

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