Fairchild Challenge Alumnus Joins Research Teams of FIU-Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Montgomery Botanical Center, and USDA

Saturday, May 14, 2011

• Our welcome to Nicolas Espinosa, Fairchild Challenge Alumnus and sophomore student of Florida International University who will be working with us as a research intern during this summer. Nicolas is majoring in Environmental Studies and during his High School years at South Plantation High School he was an active participant of the Fairchild Challenge. His internship is being funded by a NSF project on "Caribbean Cycads Biogeography, Conservation, and Systematics". During this internship Nicolas will be hosted by the Montgomery Botanical Center (in May, mentored by Dr. Patrick Griffith and Dr. Chad Husby), the herbarium of Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden (in June, mentored by Dr. Bret Jestrow and Dr. Javier Francisco-Ortega), and the Subtropical Horticulture Research Station of USDA (in July, mentored by Dr. Dayana Salas-Leiva and Dr. Alan Meerow). His research at Montgomery Botanical Center will focus on ex situ conservation methods. During his internship at the Fairchild Herbarium, Nicolas will gain experience in herbarium management and the use of optical microscopy techniques for systematics. Finally, his studies at USDA will be based on the use of DNA techniques to address phylogenetic questions. Nicolas joined this research team on May 9th. The image on the right shows Nicolas spraying soapy water on Caribbean Islands taxa of Zamia to control mealy bugs at the Montgomery Botanical Center.