May 2010

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

• Dr. Javier Francisco-Ortega has been elected to a three-year appointment as a member of the Council of the American Society of Plant Taxonomists (ASPT). This council is the main administrative body of the ASPT.

• Field researchers Sam Wright and Devon Powell will be traveling to the Key West National Wildlife Refuge (KWNWR) on May 27-28 to survey the status of state endangered Zanthoxylum flavum (yellow wood). With only about 60-70 of these trees left in the U.S., the Refuge contains the largest remaining wild population. A full survey of Z. flavum has not occurred since Hurricane Georges in 1998.

• Fairchild Researcher and FIU assistant professor of Biology, Dr. Kenneth Feeley, is in Peru initiating a new study investigating the vegetation dynamics of the high Andean cloud forests in Manu NationalPark and their responses to climate change.  In addition Kenneth traveled recently to the new park of Pampa Hermosa in Peru’s Selva Central with incoming CTPC graduate student, Catherine Bravo, to meet with local collaborators and assess the potential for future studies in the park.

 Fairchild Researcher and FIU assistant professor Dr. Hong Liu leaves for China on May 19th to carry out field work on orchid conservation research in the region of Guangxi. Going with her are Fairchild staff members Jennifer Possley (from the CTPC) and Hillary Burgess (from the Horticulture Department), who will assist in field work and exploration of the remote, botanically diverse area. Dr. Liu will return on August 3rd.

• We are currently hosting Fulbright scholar Dr. Pamela McLaughlin of the University of Technology in Jamaica.  She is examining gene expression in medicinalblack pepper species that are endemic to Jamaica.  She will be our guest through July 31st, and will be working closely with Dr. Eric von Wettberg at both Fairchild and FIU.

In support of Fairchild’s ongoing role as the Caribbean coordinating institution for the Global Plants Initiative, Melissa Abdo attended a training session at New York Botanical Garden covering updated protocols for herbarium specimen digitization and databasing. This project is being generously supported and led by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Lynka Woodbury, FTG Herbarium Curator, attended the 30th Florida Native Plant Conference in Tallahassee (19 - 23 May) where she presented a History of The Dade Chapter and a Membership Workshop.

 Dr. Eugenio Santiago, Associate Professor at Department of Biological Sciences (University of Puerto Rico) and Head of the Herbarium of the PuertoRico Botanic Garden, will be visiting us from May 23-30. During this visit Dr. Santiago will be working with FIU-Fairchild Researcher Dr. Javier Francisco-Ortega on the contributions of Domingo Bello y Espinosa for the flora of Puerto Rico. Research intern Emily Warschefsky will be helping Eugenio and Javier with this project.

• Dr. Eric von Wettberg will be traveling to Portugal from May 24-June 6 to visit Rio Formosa Natural Park and examine distributions of legume species in this region.