March 2011

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Our research with Bahamian cycads and recent field trip to the island of Abaco (Michael Calonje from Montgomery Botanical Center, David Knowles from the Bahamas National Trust, and Dr. Javier Francisco-Ortega from FIU and Fairchild) have been highlighted in "The Tribune" (March 21, 2011), one of the two newspapers that is circulated nationally throughout the Bahamas. The article is entitled:  "Exploring the Zamia on Tyloo Cay" and was written by Sara Gilmer from Cruise Abaco. Our gratitude to Sarah for writing this article and for providing boat transportation to the Abaco cays. See additional news about our recent field studies in Abaco, Eleuthera, and Grand Bahama below (February News).


As part of the Caribbean cycad project funded by NSF we have just started our field studies in Florida. During March our team has conducted three field trips to several natural areas, including Pond Hawk Natural Area in Boca Raton (March 5 by Dr. Alan Meerow (USDA) and Tracy Magellan (Montgomery Botanical Center); Everglades National Park (March 14 by Dr. Alan Meerow and Dr. Javier Francisco-Ortega); and West Florida (March 23 - March 25 to Oscar Scherer State Park; Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park; Koreshan State Historical Site and State Park; and Cayo Costa State Park by Dr. Alan Meerow and Dr. Francisco-Ortega).  We are particularly grateful to Mark Duncan from Cayo Costa State Park to arrange boat transportation to this park. Our collection in these natural areas was performed in coordination with their land managers. During the coming months our team anticipates to continue field work in North Florida and the Cayman Islands. Image on the right: Dr. Alan Meerow collecting DNA samples at Pond Hawk Natural Area


Supported by the New York Botanical Garden and Montgomery Botanical Center (MBC), Dr. Angelica Cibrian (Laboratorio Nacional de Genomica para la Biodiversidad, Guanajato, Mexico) is collecting plant material of cycads from the extraordinary living collections of MBC for her research between March 4th and 9th. During this visit Dr. Cibrian will be using our molecular facilities to isolate nucleic acids for her studies on cycad genomics.


• Dr. Dayana Salas-Leiva has just joined the team of scientists from FIU, Fairchild, MBC, USDA, and New York Botanic Garden who received a grant from NSF to study Caribbean cycads (see February News below). Dr. Salas-Leiva will be working under the supervision of Dr. Alan Meerow at USDA. Before joining our team Dr. Salas-Leiva was working as a post-doctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Andrea Schwarzbach (University of Texas at Brownsville). Dr. Salas-Leiva received her Doctoral Degree from Universidad del Valle, Cali, Colombia.