I have had few weeks more exciting than this one. I see myself as incredibly fortunate to be doing field research within the genus Oenothera in the middle of a Ponderosa Pine forest in Flagstaff. The fact that I have two fantastic mentors with me to teach me new skills makes it all the better.
The biodiversity of Arizona is the thing that continues to shock me the most. One moment, you are in Saguaro county where there seems to be nothing but the hardiest of succulent plants and grasses, and the next moment you are in the middle of a pine grove looking at snow capped peaks and sub-alpine plants all over the place. I've never been in a place quite like this before, for research or otherwise.
For those unfamiliar with our project, we are running a common garden here in Flagstaff that contains different species of Oenothera within it. As of right now, our plants are blooming and are doing great. At the beginning, however, they were off to a bit of a slow start... Because of that, we have been doing Dimensions work for the past three days in montane oak-pine canyons in Northern AZ and desert grasslands in Southern AZ. I have never in my life thought that I would be able to say: "I saw javelinas in the desert and black bear in a forest while hunting flowers, all within a time frame of about three hours.
I could not be more thrilled that I am here. I am forever thankful to my professor back in St. Louis, Dr. Krakos, and my mentors here from the CBG for such an incredible opportunity.
(See the intro imagine for my study species, Oenothera harringtonii)