Sadly, although not surprisingly, I was not able to amplify the regions of Monocarpus DNA needed to compare it to other complex thalloid liverworts from a 1950s collection that we had been sent by our Australian colleagues.
However, this was not the end of the story. Just over a year later, in September 2009, we received another email from Australian National Herbarium’s Chris Cargill, who had just attended the Australasian Bryophyte Workshop in Western Australia.
There, Chris met up with Pina Milne and Helen Jolley, who had travelled to WA the previous week before to do some collecting north of Perth and had actually found living Monocarpus! Even better for us, they were happy to send us some of the recent collection for DNA sequencing.
The specimens were sent back from PERTH herbarium at the end of October, and reached Edinburgh in time for the DNA to be extracted before the year end. Successful sequence data was generated for several of the regions that we tried to amplify, allowing us to finally place Monocarpus sphaerocarpus in the liverwort tree of life. (To be continued…)
On Monocarpus – http://stories.rbge.org.uk/archives/17112
Finding Monocarpus, in the Herbarium – http://stories.rbge.org.uk/archives/17146
Finding Monocarpus, in the field – http://stories.rbge.org.uk/archives/17272
Lost before found: Was there more than one species in Monocarpus? – http://stories.rbge.org.uk/archives/17904