This amazing place affords us an opportunity to have a field site a mere 10 minute drive away. A small area of wildland within the city limits of Tucson, it is a treasure and we are lucky to be able to work there. We work amongst a plot of blue palo verde that Dr. Ray Turner has been studying for decades--luckily he accompanied us on our first trip out there to show us the ropes (with Dr. Larry Venable).
Once there, we stumbled upon a white-winged dove that was nesting in one of the mistletoes we needed to sample--here she is to the left with one of her two large nestlings (just to her lower left).
Below a foothills Palo Verde, Dr. Koop and Lauren ponder a flowering saguaro a few feet away (out of sight here). Above their heads are desert mistletoes that we were able to sample with the pruner (that thing leaning against the tree).
From humble beginnings (through the digestive tract of the Phainopepla), a new mistletoe sprouts a root radicle, which is boring into another mistletoe's stem--will it take hold? Time will tell...
Here, I am sampling desert mistletoe from a velvet mesquite using our pruner. The stems were placed into tubes that are frozen for future genetic analyses.
Dr. Koop and Lauren improvise, using an age-old technique for collecting a few stems from a mistletoe that is outside the reach of our pruner...
This one was hard to reach, but with the help of Dr. Koop and Lauren, I got it!