Things I have learnt in Malaysia:
- 12 hour days are sometimes just not long enough.
- Labs all over the world are pretty much the same and procrastination is universal.
- You will always forget something.
- ‘Vegetarian’ actually mean ‘with prawns’.
- Monkeys are actually pretty scary up close.
- Malaysian seaweed harbours big crabs that do not like being disturbed.
- Bread and butter pudding is actually the perfect breakfast food.
Lab work here has been tough – there have been several issues with peak elution (how compounds leave the GC oven and are detected – which manifests itself in if they appear in the data or not, and if they appear how neat the peak that represents them is – as concentration is related to peak area the peak area needs to be neat and well defined) which has been hard to fix as the lab here is a new set up and so they aren’t as well equipped as we are at UEA. I now appreciate the benefits of over 10 years of experience, equipment and spare parts! There’s very little work on halocarbon emissions from tropical seaweeds so it’s really interesting to work with them in the lab. We’ve done some basic incubations and today tried changing the light levels to see how that affects emissions – natural light here is strong and so laboratory incubator light may not represent natural conditions that well. I’m also hoping to do some work on the bacteria, microorganisms and epiphytes that live on and around the seaweed before we finish in the lab on Wednesday evening. Everyone else out here from the UK (and NZ) has travelled up to Langkawi for a nice few days on a tropical island, sorry…hard work and lots of samples…and Fiona (a student from Universiti Malaya) and I will be joining them on Friday as I still have some air samples to do. Will hopefully fit in some tropical island time too…