Today was my last dedicated EVA for plant collecting. We focused on two areas immediately
adjacent to the hab - a dry streambed and sandstone outcrops to the east of the Hab (opposite the
Hab turnoff on Cow Dung Road), and along the top of the plateau immediately southwest of the Hab.
The first location yielded new lichen diversity not yet recorded during this rotation, and two
different endolithic cyanobacteria containing rock type - sandstone, and a prolifically colonized
quartz rock. The plateau yielded at least one new species of vascular plant, and many species
previously collected on this trip.
With the collection portion of my research program wrapping up (any further collections this trip
will be opportunistic), I'm turning my attention towards identification and processing of the
specimens. Some of this will take place in sim, but the majority of the identification will take
place back at my lab in Ottawa - where reference material is available for the vascular plants
and lichens, and where we can extract chloroplast DNA from the cyanobacteria colonies for
identification. Each specimen was collected in duplicate: one set of specimens will be deposited
at the National Herbarium of Canada at the Canadian Museum of Nature, and one set will be left
here in Utah, at the Intermountain Herbarium in Provo. After identification, this biodiversity
data will be used to start an annotated checklist to the flora of MDRS, a document that will be
useful to future crews conducting biological work at the Station.