Samples in the laboratory!

The first samples from citizen scientists arrived in the labs of the national coordinators. Their next way is now to be send to the specialist labs for further analysis. It is of great importance that the samples arrive there in a well preserved and labelled manner!

This is how the samples look like, when they arrive in the labs of the national coordinators.

In Austria, we try to pick up as many samples as possible ourselves, to maintain the cold chain (citizen scientists freeze samples, cooler bag for transport, freezing the samples in the laboratory).

The pollen samples from the pollen trap are then split – one part goes to the lab in Portugal for molecular detection of botanical sources of the pollen. The other part of the sample will be send to another laboratory for pesticide residue analysis. Ideally, we will also keep a retention sample at the laboratory of the national coordinator, though this is not always possible when there is only few sample material.
The pollen trap samples going to Portugal for molecular analysis are transferred to ‘Falcon tubes’ and filled with 96% Ethanol for preservation. The sample is still frozen for transport in dry ice.
Important is not to lose the information where the samples belong to! We therefore use stickers with the unique sample number, so we know when/where/how samples were collected (from citizen scientists contribution in Limesurvey), and we can finally combine molecular results on botanical origin, pesticide residue results and GPS location. We decided for stickers, not that the alcohol from a breaking or leaking tube washes off a sharpie writing!