It seems I am back from Panama and all I have to show for it is this pig… His tail is bobbly so it’s not all bad.  

But apart from various souvenirs and photos of monkeys, I travel back with so much knowledge from so many collection managers, curators, botanists, and imaging specialists.  It was a great time.

These Panama times

Field Museum represent!
To all that don’t believe that I’ve been working on the GPI project, or that I work for the Field Museum, or that I’m in Panama, some questionable proof for all 3!
All joking aside, I’m honored and proud to be a participant and contributor to a unique collection/database that is truly evidence of the times and a contemporary museum for a more connected and global community.  JSTORs Global Plants Initiative is the only collection of its kind to create a resource that aims to contain digital records for every type in the world; unifying the world’s most important specimens into a single database/collection.  No other Natural Science (that I’m aware of) has such a resource.  It’s incredible to even conceptualize. It’s sad that this organizations funding is coming to an end.  With that said, there is nothing happening to the database. But maintaining it will be a challenge for a community that is still young.  But we have emphasized the responsibility of having such an amazing resource so while it will be work, the difficult first step of merely establishing such a resource has already been achieved.
The conference sure is an experience.  I’ve never felt so young and stupid before haha.  But only because I’m sitting in discussions with a group of people that have as many years of experience as I have been alive.  The Global aspect of it is by no means an exaggeration.  We have individuals representing herbarium from every continent with the exception of Antarctica.  It feels like the Botany United Nations.  It’s kind of really amazing.  I have to wear an earpiece with an interpreter speaking English on the other end so I can understand some of the participants and their presentations.  And one of the interpreters has the voice of a 60s British radio news host.  So all this just feels a little too legit for me.  But it’s an amazing experience.  2 more days of conferencing!

Field Museum represent!

To all that don’t believe that I’ve been working on the GPI project, or that I work for the Field Museum, or that I’m in Panama, some questionable proof for all 3!

All joking aside, I’m honored and proud to be a participant and contributor to a unique collection/database that is truly evidence of the times and a contemporary museum for a more connected and global community.  JSTORs Global Plants Initiative is the only collection of its kind to create a resource that aims to contain digital records for every type in the world; unifying the world’s most important specimens into a single database/collection.  No other Natural Science (that I’m aware of) has such a resource.  It’s incredible to even conceptualize. It’s sad that this organizations funding is coming to an end.  With that said, there is nothing happening to the database. But maintaining it will be a challenge for a community that is still young.  But we have emphasized the responsibility of having such an amazing resource so while it will be work, the difficult first step of merely establishing such a resource has already been achieved.

The conference sure is an experience.  I’ve never felt so young and stupid before haha.  But only because I’m sitting in discussions with a group of people that have as many years of experience as I have been alive.  The Global aspect of it is by no means an exaggeration.  We have individuals representing herbarium from every continent with the exception of Antarctica.  It feels like the Botany United Nations.  It’s kind of really amazing.  I have to wear an earpiece with an interpreter speaking English on the other end so I can understand some of the participants and their presentations.  And one of the interpreters has the voice of a 60s British radio news host.  So all this just feels a little too legit for me.  But it’s an amazing experience.  2 more days of conferencing!

Now that I have your attention, I’d like to make a couple quick announcements. (explanation of photos at the bottom)

A. I’m gonna be in Panama all of next week!  For business of course.  So maybe I’ll have time to post, maybe I wont….  Hope I do.  But if I have time to post, that’s time I’m not out in Panama s’plorin!  I’ve never been out of the country like this before!  And now I’m getting paid to!  Lots of firsts in this trip.  First time in central America, first time out of the country without my family, first business trip!  I feel growed up.

B. I have a facebook page too! And though I’m bad at actually using it, it’s there.  I was hoping it would be better for anyone facebook inclined… but it’s lonely right now.  Probably mostly my fault though… https://www.facebook.com/thingsondesk
I would like to be able to use it to make all the photos on this blog more organized for anyone that wants to find sometime from my blog easier.

C.  I know I’m really lenient about letting people use my photos.  I would like to reiterate that these photos can and should be shared (anything with a field museum scale bar is subject to the field museum’s copyright, so yes you can share but in publishing or anything other than personal use, that’s a no no).  I don’t watermark so please credit me just on the grounds of being nice to me. WITH THE EXCEPTION:  Don’t ever ever ever ever EVER use my photos for marketing or financial gain!  If I see a photo of mine used in say, a Snickers ad, I will lose my mind.  And I think that’s fair, right?  This hasn’t happened but I feel like making the clarification all the same.  But good luck trying to print an ad with a >1MB image muahahaha.

Ok.  Back to + business.  You’re lookin at the chrysalis of the tropical blue morpho butterfly located in Central/South America.  The first image are glass plate collodion prints of the images I took.  I hope to find one in the wild while I’m in Panama!  I did a photo project photographing 20 some chrysalids and printing them on glass.  Each glass plate is unique and I only printed each image once.  Though I did print out a small edition of books of them scanned.

Corrie and I did a quick shoot earlier this week for her favorite thing but after a little bit of talking we decided this wasn’t going to be her official favorite thing for my project.  That said, I’ll still treat it and post as though it is but we’re going to do it again but she’s bringing some stuff to my office!

The Cambrian Explosion section of the Evolving Planet exhibition at the Field Museum is my favorite space in the museum for several reasons.  I love the feeling of immersion you get from being surrounded by actual fossils from that time period (over 500 million years ago!), including the Burgess Shale formation.  And the animated video of the Cambrian sea with all the amazing and diverse animals is absolutely captivating.  I could watch that video for hours and the soundtrack that accompanies it is makes you feel like you were teleported back 500 million years to the bottom of this ancient sea.  Aesthetically I find the space very pleasing, but more importantly as someone who researches the evolution of insects this time period witnessed an amazing burst in arthropod diversity and many other major life forms that are still around today.  In a short window of evolutionary time (10-40 million years) most of the major body forms and animal phyla evolved.  These include chordates (humans are chordates, although the forms found in the Cambrian sea looked very different), arthropods, starfish, sponges, annelids (worms), and even early plants.  Getting your head around this remarkable diversity can be dizzying, but I love the table of trilobites which clearly documents the diversity of shapes, sizes, and spines all within a single animal group/class!  Next time you are at the Field Museum be sure to spend several minutes (or hours) in this space and think about how this single period of time so long ago lead to the diversity of animals we see today and radically changed the planet forever.  

Dr. Corrie Moreau
Associate Curator
Department of Science and Education
Field Museum of Natural History

Twitter: @corriemoreau

This was a really fun shoot though a much bigger challenge than I had expected.  Either way, we had a fun experience and we were even approached by a stranger and Corrie got to talk to him about her own experience with the space.  I want to say more about Corrie and all her support with my projects and my career at the museum but I think I’ll save that for her official favorite things post.  I suppose this is her favorite space and even though there was a little confusion about my project, I don’t want to pass up an opportunity to share more insights into the personal experiences the people of the museum have with this place.

I’ve been seriously watching this rock for the last couple years now.  It hasn’t always been this tilted.  It used to sit straight up.  And over time it just started leaning over… And then yesterday I tried to push it back… but it’s too heavy.

I first noticed this rock because if you’ll notice, it has this nice little hole in it and feel free to disagree, but I kept thinking it would be amazing for a root over rock bonsai.  Could you imagine how amazing that would be?!  Well for those that can’t imagine it, here are some crude mock-ups on how it would probably look… that was my first attempt and then I decided I really needed to just stick with photoshop.

But this rock is one of my favorite things around this museum.  And it does have a plant starting to grow out of it!

For anyone planing to visit said really awesome rock, it’s right outside the East entrance (pictured in the first image).

1 leaf 

2 specimen sheets

Not sure why that is…

I just finished photographing all the South American specimen sheets for the family Cecropiaceae.  Though this is sometimes considered not to be the correct family which it’s from.  But many herbarium used to file these plants under Cecropiaceae, now it’s considered Urticaceae.  But since it’s a lot of work to physically move all the specimens to another part of the collection for a name change, ours and many older herbarium will keep it where it is.  And who knows if it’ll just get another reidentification.

On another note, some of the fruits for these giant plants look like lizard feet… just sayin.

allthestrings said: Is that a moa?

Nah that’s the Brachiosaurus skeleton that is out front of the museum!

Last image is not mine… I couldn’t find the photographer but the original picture is off the blackhawks nhl website.  Hockey season is around the corner and the jersey will be up soon so I’ll get a shot of my own just as a keepsake when that happens :).