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Processing in the lab; it was fab!


Jenni Frank

We started the morning checking Elliot traps, wire cages and pitfall traps. We caught a quoll which was released and a skink (pictured below) which was collected for DNA analysis. Today I got the unique opportunity to see the other side of work conducted by ecologists; laboratory work. We processed three local lizards including our skink from earlier. Processing of a specimen starts by putting the specimen to sleep using the green dream or orajel. The specimen can then be identified under the microscope (pictured below). By looking at the anatomical features of the skink, we classified it as the Main’s Dwarf Skink (Menetia maini). The specimens were then labelled with a numbered tag attached around their waist by string. The specimens were then dissected and two liver samples taken and preserved in ethanol. These samples will go to the both the NT and Australian museum for DNA analysis. Finally the specimens were fixed in formalin (pictured below). When they get back to the museum they will be rinsed to remove the formalin and placed in ethanol for preservation.

We were also lucky enough to see a Groote Eylandt Marbled Velvet Gecko (Oedura Nesos), pictured in the main photo. This is an endemic gecko to Groote Eylandt and a species only discovered this year. A film crew which is currently making a documentary on the biodiversity of Groote Eylandt were very interested in this gecko, as seen in the picture below. In the afternoon we were lucky enough to be able to explore a few places around Groote Eylandt including the Anindilyakwaa Art Centre and go on a few bush walks to see amazing local flowers, seen below. Today it was great to chat to scientists and experience the wider jobs and laboratory work associated with being a research scientist!

processing in the lab 1      processing in the lab 2      processing in the lab 3

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