Field (JY Meyer)

Field (ground) surveys will be conducted in the different habitats and vegetation types of Moorea (coastal vegetation, supralittoral forest, dry and mesic forest, wet valley and slope forest, montane and cloud forest, summit scrubs), and more specifically the highest peaks and ridges where most of the endemic plants are located. The field-team will be dropped by helicopter in the remote habitats that have not been (or very few) surveyed before: mount Tohiea (1207 m elev.), mount Mouaputa (830 m), Fairurani- Tearai ridge (741-770 m), Mouapu-Mouaroa ridge (762-880 m), Tautuapae-Matotea ridge (714-769 m). Repelling will be necessary on cliffs and very steep slopes. Efforts will be made to coordinate collecting expeditions and sites with the terrestrial invertebrate and fungal teams. Species identification of vascular plants will be done by the field team which has a good botanical knowledge and expertise (5-10 years of botanical field surveys in French Polynesia, including Moorea). Most angiosperms can be identified in the field by general collectors, but ferns and bryophytes will need a specialist to accompany other field collectors to be sure that all rare taxa get collected (otherwise with rather obscure groups you end up with many duplicates of common species and none of the rare ones). For the unidentified species and species new to science, taxonomical expertise will require the consultation of herbarium specimens and well known taxonomists in the Pacific region (Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle of Paris (P), France; Bishop Museum of Honolulu (BISH), Hawaii; National Tropical Botanical Garden in Lanai (NTBG), Hawaii; University and Jepson Herbaria of UC Berkeley (UC/JEPS), USA). Collaboration with the community based organization ‘Association Te Pu Atitia’ (Moorea Ethnocode Project) will provide Tahitian names for the plants and links to the wealth of traditional knowledge (e.g., for medicinal uses).

Laboratory (Mishler)

Voucher specimens will be send to the herbarium of French Polynesia located at the Musée de Tahiti et des Iles (PAP), to the herbarium of the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle in Paris (P) and to the University and Jepson Herbaria of UC Berkeley (UC/JEPS). Leaf material (vascular plants only) in silica gel will be stored at the Délégation à la Recherche in Tahiti. Student researchers at Berkeley will help with troubleshooting extraction techniques, testing PCR primers and other aspects that need manual or specialized tweaking. All production-level extraction, PCR, and sequencing (at SI) are folded into the biocode pipeline as described elsewhere.

Timeline:

The majority of the species will be collected and sequenced in 2008 with supplemental field and lab work in 2009 and 2010 for more difficult species.