|Shoddy data: mad scientist or just bad science?|
Needless to say, well documented specimen data begins right in the field. Depending upon your quarry, in addition to a net and/or beating sheet, the adept collector is equipped, at minimum, with a small notebook and pencil for recording data and field observations. Now days, basic GPS units are affordable. One of these is essential in at least logging your latitude and longitude and altitude (elevation). In addition, with a GPS unit, one is able to set a track line to check a series of traps in a maze of dense California chaparral or southeastern Arizona forest canopy. A small P&S digital camera is also a useful tool to have on hand.
|Left to right: GPS Unit, pocket plant press, Post-It cards, glassine envelopes|
|Plant sample with field notes.|
To format the data into printable labels, I limit the number of characters (including spaces) to 18-24/line with four or five lines completing a label. My concern is to include the necessary information in a simple, easily read format in a practical font size. Some collectors use a 3 point font creating as many as six lines per label. Trial and error is the best approach in organizing the text to fit into a rectangular profile which will expedite cutting into individual labels later.
|When not in use, everything is stored in a plastic, |
water/dust-proof container with lid
- Country (including U.S. specimens)
- State and County (Parish, Province, Department, Zone)
- Geographic locality
- Date(s) of collection (use roman numerals for month of collection)
Method of collection (sweeping, beating)
Host (genus and species if possible but genus or family is acceptable. In the least, “roadside yellow composites” is more significant than nothing at all)
Ecological association (sand dunes, chaparral, desert transition, etc.)
First (Top): USA,CALIF:Riverside Co.
Santa Rosa Mtns.,St.Hwy.
74, 8.5 km S.Palm Desert
Second: N31°15’10” W110°15’10”
D.A. La Rue, Eriogonum
inflatum T.& F. flwrs.
Always print labels on 100% rag, acid-free, archival quality paper.
Use a pinning block to set the labels at the same uniform height(s) for each specimen.
© Delbert La Rue 2013. All Rights Reserved.