Some of the greatest treasures of the NTNU University Museum are in the botanical collections. The collections include preserved specimens of both vascular plants, mosses lichens and plenty of other organisms. This herbarium (internationally coded as TRH) is an invaluable source of knowledge, and can help researchers in multiple ways.
To be as useful as possible, it is important to make sure that the herbarium is continuously updated with new specimens, better samples, and that the people involved in the collections are capable of identifying and collecting these. For this reason, a field trip for personnel involved with the herbarium is arranged once a year, and this year I managed to get myself invited! The destination was Dovre, and the group included four people from TRH and four from the Natural History Museum in Oslo; another great part of these trips is ensure good collaborations between the different herbaria – and what better way to do so than through socializing on a weeklong field trip? This year, the main focus of the trip this was lichens.
The days were spent visiting interesting localities, both regarding lichens and vascular plants. Specimens were taken to keep in the herbaria, and the master’s students who had joined the trip collected samples for their respective projects. In the evenings, hours were spent on identifying and studying the plants and lichens in more detail – rinse and repeat!
From such a field trip, it always good publicity to share an interesting event – and most often, these are the ones which were not planned. In this case, the main unplanned event was the sudden case of a flat tire. This luckily happened within the borders of civilization. It would potentially have been a more exiting tale, had it happened in the middle of nowhere.
The unfortunate event however lead to exiting discoveries: lichens can grow on the rubber lining of the window of an old car! The following pictures shows what happens the minute a group of lichenologists (and botanists) sees something new – and no, the picture were not staged.
Altogether, this trip was a great experience (the great weather all week without a doubt influences my general opinion)! It was inspiring to see passionate experts in their right elements, and I learned to recognize multiple native, Norwegian plants (a skill still under much development!). I hope to be invited once again next year!