In our last few days in Borneo, Edy and I gave a public lecture at the Sarawak Biodiversity Centre, a research institute that specializes on bioprospecting potential pharmaceuticals from forest plants and other organisms, using both traditional knowledge and high-tech testing methods. It's an impressive facility from a scientific perspective. I was so pleased to have the opportunity to tell the public directly about what we found. If I have any regret about this trip, it's not finding more opportunities to tell the people of Sarawak about the great spiders they have. Well, the Internet and lots of photos will eventually solve that.
It's time to say our thank-you's for the expedition, and sign off. The Sarawak Forestry Department and the staff at Gunung Mulu, Lambir Hills, Kubah, and Bako National Parks offered their collaboration through permits and logistics, which made the entire expedition possible. The infrastructure available to us at our field sites was excellent. At Mulu, where we concentrated our sampling, our work was made considerably easier by the assistance offered us by Brian Clark, Jeremy Clark, and the other park staff. Andyson Laman was a great guide on our Camp 1 foray. Our work was made more fun by our chats with Syria Lejau Malang and Magdalena Sorger, though with the latter I will have to disagree about the beauty of salticids versus ants. Especially ants that bite.
Ch'ien Lee helped us arrange the expedition in the first place, and introduced us to the Bornean forest. I would like to thank most especially Alex Ang, who took a month off of his normal life in Kuching to accompany us into the forest. Alex made an important contribution to our success. I also can't forget a big thank you to NSERC Canada, for the funding that enabled this expedition.
Sarawak was good to us in many ways. It was easy to get around, safe, with friendly people. We found professionalism, cleanliness and good organization everywhere.
Finally, and you might have seen this coming, I'd like to thank the spiders. I can't individually thank all 175 species of jumping spiders that I estimate we found in Sarawak, but I will show you some of their faces. As you look at these, think about my previous post about the music of biodiversity, about variations on a theme. And, remember the eyes. That's how you know it's a jumping spider.
And to you humans out there, thanks for following our expedition. Next time, look back at a jumping spider when she looks up at you.
Previously in this series:
Text and images © W. Maddison, under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license (CC-BY)