Fieldwork report – Sampling of Cycadaceae in Australia

Text by Linda-Liisa Veromann

My fieldwork in Australia has now successfully concluded. I collected leaf anatomical and volatile samples from the West and the East coast, as well as from the Central North of the continent. Although, it may be the smallest of the latter, we still drove over 17,000 kilometers to reach our departure airport in Brisbane, Queensland, with a lot of magnificent nature in between.

All together, I managed to collect samples from 29 species of Cycadaceae from seven genera: Macrozamia, Lepidozamia, Zamia, Dioon, Cycas, Encephalartos, and Ceratozamia. I also collected volatile samples from ten species. Now, with the data I managed to collect in Tasmania, I have a little over 200 anatomical samples to cut, photograph and measure, but I am excited and hopeful to see a lot of interesting results! There has not been much research into the leaf anatomy or volatiles Cycadaceae species, so there are many interesting questions about their mesophyll, VOCs, evolution and survival to try to answer.

Australia is a wonderful place and I recommend it to everyone, whether you just want to travel in amazing landscapes and among some weird and wonderful creatures, or you plan on doing research there, as the plants are amazing there, and can be just as weird!

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