Tuesday

Oology Cards set #1

These are the first species that I have entered the data for. We are working to digitize the records of over 200,000 egg clutches from all over the world. The study of eggs is known as Oology, pronounced Oh-ahlogy. These eggs are useful for many reasons including comparing clutch sizes though time, nesting locations though time, and fertility rates. So far I have entered data for the Great Skua (multiple subspecies), Black-faced Sheathbill, Snowy Sheathbill, Pomarine Jaeger, Rufous Seedsnipe, Gray-bellied Seepsnipe, South Polar Skua, and Least Seedsnipe. I will put the pictures in the order that I listed the species. These birds are all cold climate dwellers and sea birds. I have entered data going back to 1869 which was collected in Antarctica. It's wonderful to try to relive the lives of these naturalists, going to this remote continent so long ago.

Mollie Ward Greist

I have been doing data input on egg collections and had input over 200 data cards before I came across the first female collector. This is not surprising as the eggs were collected between 1869 and the 1940's when the vast majority of naturalists and collectors were male. Mollie Ward Greist (center of photo at right) was a registered nurse (RN) and wife of Dr. Henry Greist and lived in Point Hope and Barrow, Alaska from 1921-1937. During this time she collected eggs, the ones I entered data for at Pomarine Jaegers. She sold these eggs to collectors such as Charles D. Brower. In addition to her egg collecting she is best known for her photographs of the local people as well as family friends. These photographs are now in Alaska's digital archives. Her photographs portray people of all ages and walks of life. She is also the author of the book Nursing under the North Star with Mollie Greist which is about her time among the native Alaskan people as well as their healing methods. She has also been honored with a nursing scholarship in her name.

Wednesday

Giant Flower to Giant Leaf

Some people might know of the world's smelliest flower, Amorphophallus titanum, commonly called the corpse flower. It hails from the rainforests of Sumatra. The question is, why does this flower smell so much? Well, it's not pollinated by cute birds or beautiful butterflies but by carcase eating insects. The flower's smell wafts across the forests with the aid of heat- the odor producing part is at human body temperature which helps volatilize the scented oils.
The plant begins life as a seed which becomes a fully adult plant in 3 to 10 years. The seed does not, however, develop into a tree or bush but rather a single huge leaf that is easily mistaken for a tree. 12 to 18 months later this leaf dies back to a bulb which can weigh up to 200 pounds. This bulb, or corm, can return to the vegetative stage or produce a the notorious flower. The flower fully opens in about 2 weeks by which time it will hopefully have produced fruit which restart the process.
The
Amorphophallus titanum does not flower frequently in cultivation and only slight more frequently in the wild. The flower, from 1939 to 2000, was the official flower of Bronx, New York.