I am writing this blog while chomping on a delicious, freshly-fried pork scratching! Amazing.
(Click images to see them full size)
Today we did a live-video-link to the Museum's Attenborough Studio (our last two will be at 12.30 and 14.30 on Saturday 18 Feb) from the middle of a river near our hut – Rio Terbi. Perched on top of a rock we spoke to an audience in London about our trip and answered their questions about our time here.
One young member of the audience asked about the weight of an acorn we held to camera – we actually don't have any scales so we can't tell for certain, but we estimate it as being about 4 to 5 times bigger than your average UK acorn. Sorry we can't be more accurate!
The river is the lifeblood of the forest and our hut - we get our water supply directly from it and use it to cook, wash and drink.
Today we waked for about an hour to a site downstream and by the river.
Holger showed me how he collects aquatic lichens...
And Alex, Daniel and Neil set up beside the river and went about collecting a huge amount of different plants.
I have been promoted from simply being a weight to hold down specimens to pressing plants and collecting samples for DNA. I also came in useful for a particularly high orchid. We have poles that we normally use to cut specimens that are out of arms reach but we thought this was quicker and more fun. It's nice to know that I am helping out!
Species of the day goes to Jo and it is a carnivorous liverwort! It's in the genus Colura and lives on leaves.
It’s lobes form water sacs, which could be an adaptation to retain moisture, and people have found tiny microscopic creatures called nematodes in these water sacs. It has been suggested that the liverwort dissolves theses tiny creatures and eats them! As Jo says, when you live on only a leaf, every little helps. She also says that up close they look like tiny teapots which made Holger laugh – 'so British', he exclaimed!
I can't get close enough to see if I agree with the teapot analogy - have a search for Colura and tell me what you think!