Posted by Jim: Jim is back, after a 2-week trip, and also Arianne, after a 6-week trip, to the Elser Lab research sites in China. Jim and Arianne met up in Beijing and then flew with NIE Yonggang to Xi’an and then Foping for a week at the Foping Panda Preserve where our new collaboration with David Raubenheimer and WEI Fuwen’s group is beginning to take shape. After a day or so considering various aspects of foliar nutrient amendments for bamboo, they headed uphill (and I do mean UPHILL) to the high elevation cabin where the station staff stay when they track panda and sample arrow bamboo during the summer season. We spent 3 nights there. Very foggy and rainy! Nevertheless, we were successful in seeing some takin (see photo) and, on the last day, a panda. Hooray!
After an unexpected stay in the city of Taiyuan (our flight to Beijing was surprisingly cancelled and then diverted mid-flight due to thunderstorms), Jim and Arianne made it to the IMGERS station for a 3-day meeting of the main investigators of the biodiversity / ecosystem function expt, including Kang Le, Xinnguo Han, Jingle Wu, Bai Yongfei, Jianhui Huang, and Shahid Naeem. This was the final “wrap-up” meeting for this mega-project. The data are starting to come together nicely and as many as 30 manuscripts are being prepared during the coming year! Arianne finished up her final grasshopper expts and then Jim and Arianne celebrated (a bit too much, actually) with her friends in the local village. A great trip!