Our welcome to Nicolas Espinosa, Fairchild Challenge Alumnus and undergraduate student of Florida
International University who has returned to work with us as a research intern this summer. His internship is being funded by a NSF project on systematics, conservation genetics, and phylogeography of Caribbean cycads (grant number DEB1050340, PIs: Javier Francisco-Ortega, Alan Meerow (USDA), and Patrick Griffith (Montgomery Botanical Center). During this internship Nicolas will be hosted by the Herbarium of Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden (mentored by Dr. Brett Jestrow and Dr. Javier Francisco-Ortega). Nicolas will gain experience in the use of optical microscopy techniques for systematics of Zamia. Nicolas joined this research team on May 7th and will be primarily looking at leaf epidermal traits. His research blends with the extensive anatomical and morphological studies of cycads currently undertaken by Patrick Griffith, Andrew
Vovides (Botanic Garden of Xalapa, Instituto de Ecologia, Mexico), and Barry Tomlinson (University of Harvard and National Tropical Botanic Garden). The image shows Nicolas examining epidermal peels from Zamia floridana.