Author: Laura ForrestPage 2 of 5

Molecular laboratory technician and bryologist, focusing on liverworts and DNA barcoding, with a PhD in Begoniaceae phylogenetics.

A violet for Walt

The Shawnee National Forest skirts the midwestern town of Carbondale, which is home to one of the campuses of Southern Illinois University. It’s also one of the prettiest…

A visit to the Californian type locality for the hornwort Phaeoceros proskaueri

One of North America’s endemic hornworts, Phaeoceros proskaueri Stotler, Crand.-Stotl. & W.T.Doyle [also known as Paraphymatoceros proskaueri (Stotler, Crand.-Stotl. & W.T.Doyle) J.C.Villarreal & Cargill] was described from plants collected in the Monterey Bay…

Complex thalloid Asterella lateralis from Panama’s Volcano

During a family holiday to Santiago, Panama in June/July 2011, we snuck in a short bryologising trip, first heading west along the Pan-American Highway, then north, to the…

Snowbird, Utah – Marchantia (Preissia) quadrata from the Rockies

The Botany 2004 meeting was in Snowbird, Utah – a chance to see a different part of the United States (and, of course, to present our research to…

Gyrothyra underwoodiana from Vancouver Island

In April 2004, I flew north from Illinois to met up with a botanical friend, Dr Zoe Badcock. Our meeting point was Vancouver, British Columbia; from there we…

The plants of our lives

There’s something quite melancholy about going back through all the little paper packets of voucher specimens, remembering who and where you were when you collected them, and thinking…

Bryological holiday jobs

The Science building at the Botanics closes down between Christmas and New Year, so any last bits of work for the year have to be packed up and…

Notes on the complex thalloid liverwort genus Plagiochasma

Now that we have six wild-collected accessions of Plagiochasma currently growing on public display in the RBGE Arid House, from China, the US (Texas) and Saudi Arabia, I’ve…

A sudden concentration of Bryologists

Despite a reputation for being rather a rare breed, this week, purely by chance, we have found ourselves with an embarrassment of bryologists at the Gardens. As well…

International Botanical Congress (IBC17) – Living Walls

Our short damp November days offer the perfect opportunity for leafing through reels of photographs from earlier in the year; many of mine are from a short trip…

Barcoding Britain’s Liverworts – progress to date

After RBGE’s initial involvement in land plant DNA barcode marker selection, culminating in a couple of 2009 papers that both utilized bryophyte barcoding data sets, we started a…

Bryological visitors at the Gardens

On Thursday the 28th September, we welcomed Professors Takayuki Kohchi and Ryuichi Nishihama, from Kyoto University, Japan, to the Botanics. Professor Kohchi’s lab is renowned for their evolutionary…

DNA Sequencing Natural History Specimens Using New Sequencing Platforms and Protocols: a 1-day meeting at RBGE 11/07/2017

Rapid developments in high-throughput sequencing platforms are providing a step change in the recoverability of DNA sequence data from natural history collections. Short-read massively parallel sequencers are intrinsically…

Testing extractions – comparing DNA on agarose gels

Looking at the capture plates from the two DNA extraction protocols that were tested on our QIAcube, it was fairly obvious that a lot more plant fragments and…

Describing your DNA

One of the amazing things about the polymerase chain reaction, PCR, is how little starting DNA is needed, with an exponential increase in the number of copies of…

Letting the robot do its job

Having got together two plates of tubes with little bits of plant and lichen tissue in them, and pulverised them with tungsten beads in a TissueLyser for a…

What’s the story when there’s no variation?

Enigmatic and isolated although it is, it seems that our Australian colleagues have now “got their eye in” for complex thalloid liverwort Monocarpus sphaerocarpus – after many years…

Bits of bamboo

In the Herbarium at RBGE, we store a huge number of sheets of archival quality paper with squashed and dried plant specimens stuck to them. These have been…

Dealing with DNA extraction protocol changes

It’s a horrible and unwelcome upheaval to have to change a protocol that works, but that’s the situation in which we have found ourselves with our semi-robotic DNA…

Santos & Stech’s phylogeny of Octoblepharum

As far as our 2013 RBGE MSc project proposal to generate a phylogeny of Octoblepharum goes, Juan Carlos Villarreal, Noris Salazar Allen and I were clearly not the…