FIU-Fairchild Alumna Performs Field Research in Puerto Rico with the Support of Universidad de Puerto Rico and Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden

Monday, January 30, 2012

With the support of Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden and the Center for Applied Tropical Ecology and Conservation of the Universidad de Puerto Rico (sponsored by the National Science Foundation) , FIU-Fairchild graduate alumna Karen Laubengayer (currently working for Monsanto Company) conducted field work in Puerto Rico between 1/29/2012 and 1/30/2012. The objective of this study was to obtain morphological data for the Caribbean Island endemic Aiphanes minima. This palm species has a disjunct distribution between Puerto Rico and the Windward Islands (Dominique, Martinique, Saint Vincent and the Granadines, Saint Lucia, Barbados, and Granada). For her Master Thesis, Karen sampled throughout the Lesser Antilles. This graduate project was under the research supervision of Dr. Scott Zona (Curator of Wertheim Conservatory of Florida International University). This recent field work at Puerto Rico has allowed Karen to have a complete biometrical data set that covers populations from the whole distribution range of this species. The biometrical analyses will be performed in partnership with Dr. Chad Husby (Montgomery Botanical Center). Our gratitude to Dr. Eugenio Santiago (Department of Biology and Botanic Garden, University of Puerto Rico) for his time, help, and support with the logistics of this field trip. Image below: Left (Dr. Eugenio Santiago processing herbarium specimens at the Botanic Garden of the University of Puerto Rico). Right (Karen Laubengayer preparing collecting tools in the field).