As part of our research program on conservation biology of the palm genus Pseudophoenix on the Caribbean Islands, Dr. Brett Jestrow (Head of the Fairchild Herbarium) traveled to the island of Eleuthera (The Bahamas) between March 18 and 21. The visit was jointly sponsored by the Mohamend Bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund and the Leon Levy Native Plant Preserve (Eleuthera). During this visit Dr. Jestrow delivered a seminar (see flyer below) and collected both germplasm and DNA samples of P. sargentii. The germplasm will be incorporated to the living ex situ collections of the Montgomery Botanical Center with duplicates to be sent to other botanical institutions. DNA samples will be analyzed by FIU-FTBG graduate student Ms. Rosa Rodriguez for her research. Dr. Ethan Freid hosted Dr. Jestrow during this trip.
Invited by Dr. Eugenio Santiago-Valentín our FIU-FTBG Faculty Dr. Javier Francisco-Ortega visited the Department of Biology of University of Puerto Rico at Río Piedras to develop joint academic and research activities. During this visit Dr. Francisco-Ortega delivered two lectures in an upper division course on Island Biodiversity and Biogeography that is taught by Prof. Eugenio Santiago-Valentín. Dr. Francisco-Ortega is a member of the graduate committee of Mrs. Nirzka Martínez who is pursuing her Ph.D. on Plant Systematics. Nirzka's research project focuses on systematics of Tabebuia (Bignoniaceae) with an emphasis on the Caribbean Islands species. During this visit Dr. Francisco-Ortega discussed several aspects of Nirzka's studies. Also Dr. Santiago-Valentín and Dr. Francisco-Ortega completed a historical botany manuscript pertinent to the contributions made by Domingo Bello to the flora of Puerto Rico. Image below: From left to right: Dr. E. Santiago-Valentín, Ms N. Martínez, and Dr. J. Francisco-Ortega examining herbarium specimens of Tabebuia at the herbarium of the University of Puerto Rico.
Once a year the Subtropical Horticulture Research Station of the Agricultural Research Service of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) located at Chapman Field opens its doors to the public. The event, known as Community Day, took place on March 16 and two FIU-Fairchild Faculty Dr. Javier Francisco-Ortega and Dr. Hong Liu delivered two popular talks entitled "David Fairchild in the Bahamas" and "Dress to impress -- how orchids attract their diverse pollinators". Dr. Liu and Dr. Francisco-Ortega were hosted by Dr. Alan Meerow. During this community day the Friends of Chapman Field had their annual meeting, the Director of the Garden (Dr. Carl Lewis) and FIU-Fairchild faculty Dr. Javier Francisco-Ortega attended this meeting. Image below: Left (Dr. Hong Liu giving her talk orchid pollination); Right (Friends of Chapman Field annual meeting).
Fairchild and FIU have a solid commitment for graduate education and 32 students from FIU have developed their graduate research at Fairchild since 1998. On March 14 we hosted the annual retreat of the FIU Graduate School. The FIU team was welcomed by our Director Dr. Carl Lewis who stressed the importance of graduate education for the Garden mission and how the FIU-Fairchild partnership is being key to enhance the education program of Fairchild. Image below from left to right: FIU-FTBG Faculty Dr. Hong Liu, Dean of the FIU Graduate School Dr. Lakshmi N. Reddi, FTBG Executive Director Dr. Carl Lewis, and Associate Dean of the FIU Graduate School Dr. Lidia Kos.
The first ever Bahamas National Natural History Conference took place at the College of the Bahamas between March 5 and 8, 2013. The conference was jointly organized by the Bahamas National Trust and the College of the Bahamas. FIU-FTBG facuty Dr. Javier Francisco-Ortega was a member of the organizing and scientific committees. FIU faculty Dr. Mike Ross and Dr. John Withey and Fairchild Scientist Dr. Joyce Maschinsky organized a roundtable on Urban Ecology aiming to discuss common challenges and questions found in the urban settings of Miami and Nassau. Image below: Participants attending round table in Urban Ecology