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The Cutting Edge
Volume VIII, Number 3, July 2001
News and Notes | Recent Treatments | Leaps and Bounds | Germane Literature | Season's Pick
MUSEO MARCHES FORWARD. The Museo Nacional (CR) continues its rewarding, multidisciplinary field investigations on the Pacific slope of the northern Cordillera de Talamanca. The triannual newsletter Museo features an article, entitled "Museo Nacional aporta investigación para crear zona protectora," describing an ecological evaluation, undertaken in November 2000, of the proposed Zona Protectora Cerros de Tarrazú. A team coordinated by Alfredo Cascante, and including fellow botanists Armando Estrada, Silvia Lobo, and Joaquín Sánchez concentrated their efforts on Cerros La Roca, Trinidad, and San Pedro, all located in the Cantones de Tarrazú and Dota (Prov. San José). Although the floristic data are not discussed, the article is illustrated with a black-and-white photograph of Catopsis hahnii Baker (Bromeliaceae), a northern sp. not previously found in Costa Rica, from Cerro La Roca. This item could just as well go under "Leaps and Bounds," pending Manual Bromeliaceae contributor Francisco Morales's verification of the identification.
NEW INBio PUBLICATIONS. Thanks to Quírico Jiménez for advising us of two new books recently (2001) published by INBio: Árboles comunes del Parque Nacional Palo Verde, Costa Rica, by U. Chavarría, J. González & N. Zamora, with illustrations by Á. Fernández, F. Quesada & R. Wise; and Guabas y cuajiniquiles de Costa Rica (Inga spp.), by N. Zamora & T. Pennington, with illustrations by F. Quesada. Both volumes will be reviewed in these pages, as soon as we have them in hand.
NEW INBio WEB FEATURE. This news has already been e-mailed to all contributors with whom we have electronic contact, but bears repeating here. INBio is supporting a powerful new search engine at the following address:
Click on "Reportes Avanzados," which takes a while to load, but then works quite quickly to return the data. The information is very current (as of the previous day). The form is rather large and a bit dense, but once you learn the idiosyncracies of the language, it should be of use. To get a list of details about collections of a particular sp., you will need to select the category "species" from the pop-down window of taxonomic categories, and then type in the full binomial in the name window. Then, just go down and click the boxes for the information you want to see, e.g., vertiente (slope), descripción del entorno (locality), recolector, número de colecta, altitud, etapa de vida (phenological state), inicio de la colecta (date), indentificador (det. by), and, most importantly, always check the box "desplegar sólo registros diferentes" (otherwise you will get data repeated for each duplicate). Then click the "OK" box. If you get nothing back, you've probably misspelled the taxon name.
VISITORS AT MO. Working at MO during the week of 30 April–5 May was Manual Orchidaceae contributor John T. Atwood (SEL). We were pleased to learn that John's visits will become more frequent, as he has recently accepted a part-time position at MO. Manual co-PI Barry Hammel was in town during the entire month of June, working mostly on Cyclanthaceae.
VISITORS IN COSTA RICA. Finally, after one trial and several tribulations (and thanks to INBio), we were pleased to host Piperaceae don Ricardo Callejas (HUA). During a mere week at INB (24 May–1 June), Ricardo identified as many as 10 new spp. of Peperomia, the majority collected by patriarch Gerardo Herrera (see below). Dr. Callejas would like to visit again before the year is out, to finish up his treatment for the Manual.
Manual Rubiaceae contributor Charlotte Taylor (MO) is currently in-country, having been invited as part-time faculty for the ongoing OTS Spanish-language Systematics course. The course is coordinated by the tried-and-true team of Brad Boyle (unaffiliated) and Robbin Moran (NY), with the collaboration of Manual co-PI and Fabaceae specialist Nelson Zamora (INB).
On 3 July, Atis Muehlenbachs, grandson of Viktor(s) Mühlenbach(s), avid collector of Missouri's railway adventives during the 1970's (see Ann. Missouri Bot. Gard. 66: 1–108. 1979), arrived in Costa Rica to begin a summer vacation volunteering for the INBio department of Botany. A native of Canada, Atis comes to us from the medical school of the University of Washington in Seattle. For the time being, we have young and eager Atis ensconced in the frigid isles of the herbarium, filing specimens and learning a bit about tropical plants by osmosis and reading. He harbors hopes of a field trip or two alongside famous botansts, but for the moment the situation is grim, fame and fortune riding low these days.
The recent "2do Seminario Mesoamericano de Orquideología y Conservación" (23–26 May), hosted in San José by the Universidad de Costa Rica, was attended by Manual contributors John Atwood (SEL), Bob Dressler (FLAS/MO), and Eric Hágsater (AMO), all of whom visited INB and willfully annotated many collections. They were accompanied by some other seminar participants, including Miguel Angel Soto Arenas (MEXU), who contributed critical identifications especially of Vanilla. Many thanks to all.
News of Gerardo. We recently had a telephone conversation with former and all-time star botanical collector Gerardo Herrera. He reports that he is presently doing quite well as a plantsman/biologist, having been under contract (for over a year now) to acquire and oversee the planting of native spp. on the grounds of Los Sueños, the large Marriott hotel, condominium, golf, and marina complex at Playa Herradura, not far from Parque Nacional Carara, on the Pacific coast. We wish you continued good fortune, Tatica.
NEW E-MAIL ADDRESS FOR HAMMEL. To simplify life, Manual co-PI Barry Hammel henceforth will use just one e-mail address. Regardless of where he may be in the world, you can reach him at:
OBITUARY. All of us are saddened by the death, on Friday, 13 July, of Dora Emilia Mora de Retana, director of Lankester Gardens near Cartago, and professor at the Universidad de Costa Rica. Dora Emilia, a specialist on Orchidaceae, was diagnosed just last year with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's syndrome). She was both collaborator and friend to everyone working on Mesoamerican orchids, including Manual Orchidaceae contributors John Atwood (SEL) and Bob Dressler (FLAS/MO), and was co-author of Atwood's recent Flora costaricensis fascicle on tribe Maxillarieae [see The Cutting Edge 6(3): 4, Jul. 1999. The Dressler's (from whom we learned this news) visited her in Cartago just a few weeks ago, when she seemed in fairly good health. We will miss Dora Emilia's perennially cheerful presence.