A Plug for Science

A biopsy dart fired from a crossbow hits home on the flank of a surfacing humpback whale in the Palmer Deep off the Antarctic Peninsula in January. Duke Marine Lab scientists based on the research ship Lawrence M. Gould were harmlessly obtaining these small samples of skin and blubber during a National Science Foundation expedition to identify the sex and relatedness of whales and to assess their diet and reproductive status.

Frozen in Time

Mounted, dried and carefully catalogued, this specimen of Polylstichum "Christmas Fern" from British Columbia is laden with reproductive spores. You see them on the underside of the leaves at left.  This is one of more than 800,000 mounted plant specimens in the Duke Herbarium,  a working collection of vascular plants, mosses, algae, fungi and lichens from all over the world.


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