Lab sampling trip to Lala mountain

Yu-Hao Wang (University of Rochester; IMB summer student)

From 8/14~15, I joined the lab on a sampling trip up to LaLa Mountain (拉拉山). The goal of this trip was to isolate new strains of nematodes and nematode-trapping fungi that existed outside of laboratory setting. To this end, we collected various mushroom samples of different morphologies from Da-Guan Natural Reservation Area. We also collected samples of rotten fruits, mostly peaches and pears, and soil from the fruit gardens up in LaLa Mountain, where wild nematodes were most likely to reside. Right now, we are trying to pick out the nematodes and mushrooms we found so we can extract its DNA and find out what species they belonged to.

Beside the science, the trip itself was a bundle of fun for everyone in the lab. I know I certainly enjoyed it. We visited the Da-Guang National Preserve where I saw massive trees, each of them hundred of years old, standing guard among the rick forest of LaLa Mountain, like a monument of time itself. Being a nature-loving person, the feeling of being surrounded by the forest brought great relaxation to me. The views up in the mountains were certainly another impressive sights. From the high vantage point, one could truly appreciated the majesty of Taiwan’s Central Mountain Range. At night, I was amazed by the clarity of the sky, which was filled with stars. The sight was something you could never seen in the city. It was as if you can reach the sky itself.

However, the best thing about the trip by far was the chance to get close with the people in our lab. Whether it’s the casual chats we had in car, or the friendly banters thrown around, or even the surprise birthday party we held for Lucy. I truly felt a sense of belonging with my friends and co-workers. The friendly atmosphere we shared seems to make the trip just that much better, and the funny stories we shared, would made a great reminder of the good times we had. As such, I am really glad I came on this trip!