where lush rainforest had once stood. One highlight for the crew, however, was exploring the world-renowned Lembeh Straits, home to a number of spectacular organisms, including pygmy seahorses, flamboyant cuttlefish, mimetic octopuses, and a profusion of colorful nudibranchs.
Aleutian Islands, Alaska
UCMP Director David Lindberg spent part of his summer in the Aleutian Island chain. He first traveled to Adak Island which is known as the Birthplace of the Winds (a well-deserved title). Adak also served as the starting point for a two-week research cruise through the western-most Aleutian Islands. The cruise, carried out on the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Research Vessel Tiglax, was part of an investigation being conducted by Dr. James A. Estes (USGS/UC Santa Cruz) and collaborators on the nearshore marine ecosystem of the Aleutian Islands. David spent much of his time collecting gastropod molluscs for molecular sequencing. He will look at dispersal capabilities of larvae between islands, and genetic continuity between populations in southeast Alaska and the lower
A shoreline on Adak Island exhibits the rocky intertidal ecosystem that interests UCMP Director David Lindberg. (photo by David Lindberg)
48 states. Research stops were made on five islands, including Adak, Attu, Kiska, Shemya and Amchitka. At Attu the Tiglax made a complete circumnavigation of the island and passed Cape Wrangle, the westernmost tip of North America.
Hell Creek Formation, Montana
A number of UCMP researchers joined Jack Horner and his Museum of the Rockies crew in exploring the Hell Creek Formation of Montana. The Hell Creek has been an active research area since the early 1900s and UCMP crews have been visiting the site since the early 1970s. Principal Museum Scientist Mark Goodwin returned for another field season and Drs. Bill Clemens and Nan Crystal Arens continued their research along the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary. They were joined by graduate students Anna Thompson and Greg Wilson, several undergraduates, and, to advise on the preservation of fossil plant specimens, UCMP Preparator Jane Mason. Base camp, affectionately dubbed the paleo ghetto by the students, was located in beautiful badlands reminiscent of those in Arizonas Painted Desert.
Anna Thompson and her team of students (Monica Albe, Evangeline Ballerini, Anna Frumes, Jack McKenna, Michael Thomson, and Tracy Yamawake) were referred to as the Leaf Crew. According to Anna, collecting leaf fossils is hard work. Swinging a big pickaxe at the fossil-bearing rock layers, she breaks out big pieces of rock, which she later splits open with a hammer and chisel. The fossil specimens often break during collection because its hard to tell exactly where they are located. She found Jane Masons expertise invaluable for devising methods for stabilizing fragile specimens and repairing broken ones.