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The Cutting Edge
Volume XVII, Number 1, January 2010
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THE END OF AN ERA. Costa Rican biologist Luis Diego Gómez Pignataro, who died peacefully on Friday night, 13 November, 2009, at the age of 65, was truly the last of his breed. Luis Diego was most widely perceived as a pteridologist, and his magnum opus on Nicaraguan ferns was published only a few months ago [see The Cutting Edge 16(3): 4–5, Jul. 2009]. Yet he had equal expertise on seed plants, as well as such diverse fields as mycology, paleontology, history, and archeology. Indeed, he was a true renaissance man, during an era in Costa Rican science when such a role was not only possible, but sorely needed. Unlike many biologists, Luis Diego had a special talent for administration. During his tenure as Director of the Museo Nacional de Costa Rica (1970–1985), he founded the journal Brenesia, served as mentor for a generation of Costa Rican biologists, and facilitated the research of scores of visiting foreign scientists. Toward the end of his directorship, Luis Diego participated in the inaugural meeting for the Manual project and oversaw the installation of Manual headquarters in the CR herbarium, then housed in a modern new facility that he had built (the demolition of which, in1989, precipitated the establishment of INBio and our movement to that institution). After leaving the Museo, Luis Diego served as Director of OTS’s Estación Biológica Las Cruces from 1986 to 2005, and simultaneously, during 2003–2005, of their Estación Biológica La Selva. A new herbarium at Las Cruces was recently named in his honor (see below, this column). Luis Diego was diagnosed with leukemia several years ago, and valiantly endured the cyclical relapses and remissions associated with that disease. We had heard, only a few months before his passing, that he was doing very well. The legacy of Luis Diego Gómez in the annals of Costa Rican science is assured, and he will never be replaced.
STATESIDE (AND OTHER) WANDERINGS. Manual mainstay Francisco Morales (INB) took his act to North Carolina during 6–13 November, presenting (by invitation) a spectacular slide show on Costa Rican Orchidaceae to four different orchid societies in the cities of Durham, Greensboro, and Wilmington. After returning to Costa Rica, Chico jetted to St. Louis to spend 24 November–2 December at MO, where he worked to polish up his treatments of Rosaceae, Sabiaceae, and other assorted families for the Manual and (at least in the case of Sabiaceae) Flora mesoamericana. Then it was onto various other herbaria in the United States and South America to pursue the same agenda from 2–8 December. Hot on Chico’s heels at MO came INBio herbarium curator Frank González, who stayed for two weeks learning the tricks of his trade and getting some pointers on using the new herbarium specimen scanning equipment and software provided through the Andrew Mellon Foundation.
VISITORS IN COSTA RICA. Grass specialist Paul M. Peterson (US) traveled to Costa Rica for the week of 7 December on an invitation from the Herbario Nacional (CR), mainly to curate Poaceae at that institution. He also made a brief stop at INB (see under “Leaps and Bounds” for some preliminary results from Paul’s visit). Manual Gesneriaceae author and Melastomataceae collaborator Ricardo Kriebel (NY) returned for his annual home visit and collecting trip during the second week of December. Both he and colleague Antoine Nicolas (NY), who arrived during the first week of January, are collecting material of Melastomataceae tribe Miconieae for a large phylogenetic and monographic project based at NY, and will be in the country until 18 January. Manual of Central American Diptera co-editor Monty Wood and wife, amateur botanist Grace, arrived 18 December for their annual escape from the Canadian cold (why don’t they just move here?). They plan to stay until 10 March. We wish them both health, good collecting, and warm weather—presently missing even from these parts of Tiquicia!
NOW IT’S OFFICIAL! Thanks to Manual correspondent Mario Blanco (FLAS/JBL) for alerting us to the news that the recently established Herbario Luis Diego Gómez [see The Cutting Edge 16(3): 1, Jul. 2009], at OTS’s Estación Biológica Las Cruces, has just been accorded an official acronym, HLDG. For additional details, we refer you to the Index herbariorum Web site.
NEW TAXONOMY JOURNAL. Maarten Christenhusz (BM) has announced the establishment of a new journal, Phytotaxa (of which he is editor), designed “to create a platform for plant taxonomists to publish their new species, nomenclature, typification, monographs, revisions, floras and other taxonomy related articles...within a month after acceptance...” He emphasizes that “articles are peer reviewed and publication is free for all authors.” The first two issues have already appeared.
Open access is available for some articles. This is evidently not a strictly on-line publication (will botanists ever get our heads out of the past and really publish on-line?), so, as usual, we will await its appearance in our library before reviewing any of the articles.
FLORA DE NICARAGUA ONLINE. In case there are others than us who didn't know and care, occasional, and sometimes extensive updates (see e.g., Zanthoxylum) are made to the web version of Flora de Nicaragua, with indications of, and reasons for, any taxonomic changes made. However, the URL for the version that gets updated is this:
The one that is static, a copy of the paper version is this: