On May 20th, myself and other volunteers for the Salmonberry project met in a residential area in Bellevue, Washington, where one of the volunteers reported a specimen of Rubus spectabilis growing near their house.
First, we came to a consensus as to how we would safely, cheaply, and temporarily store any collected samples of the specimen at -20 degrees Celsius, until we found a freezer which could store the samples indefinitely at -80 degrees Celsius. We agreed to store the samples of Rubus spectabilis inside of test tubes, within a heavily insulated box filled with dry ice, within a conventional freezer. However, this will be temporary while we look for alternative indefinite means of storage.
We mixed isopropyl alcohol with dry ice to make a bath for the vials. We went out to collect samples of the specimen, ripping out leaves, stems, flowers, and berries with our gloved hands, and removed the roots with a shovel provided by a Salmonberry volunteer. Aside from minor complications such as the difficulty of accessing the specimen, or the painful thorns on it, collection of the samples went without incident.
In order to prepare the samples for storage and sequencing, and remove any potential contaminants from them, we submerged all of the samples underwater at least once. For particuarly dirty samples such as the roots and stem, we had to put them under running water and submerge them three times. We used tweezers to remove the petals and scissors that had been wiped with alcohol to cut up the stems and the root pieces.