Family List (MO) |
Family List (INBio) | Cutting Edge
Draft Treatments |
The Cutting Edge
Volume XXI, Number 3, July 2014
News and Notes |
Leaps and Bounds | Germane Literature | Season's Pick
MANUAL GOES TO YET ANOTHER VOLUME. This is by now old news to us, but we have been remiss in not reporting it in this column: due to a limit on the number of pages that can be accommodated in a single volume, we have been forced to divide our projected Vol. 7 (Picramniaceae–Zygophyllaceae) in twain, generating yet another Manual volume and stretching our total to eight. We also continue to stretch the meaning of the word "manual" (some of you may recall that, in the dim past, this was envisioned as a single-volume work, a notion that now seems preposterous beyond words). The need to go to eight volumes can be pinned on a single family, Piperaceae, which was originally slated to be the last family in Vol. 6 (Haloragaceae–Phytolaccaceae). However, in the early planning stages, we had seriously underestimated the eventual size of Piperaceae (which now ranks as the second-largest angiosperm family in the flora!) and, consequently, the time that would be needed to complete the treatment. As crunch time neared for Vol. 6, and with a Piperaceae treatment still outstanding, the decision was made to remove that family and reposition it as the lead family in Vol. 7 (good luck for us that it wasn't somewhere in the middle of a volume!). That bought enough time, as it turned out, because Vol. 7 was then two volumes down the line in the publication sequence. But then space became a problem, as the unexpectedly massive Piperaceae treatment engorged Vol. 7 beyond its capacity. Our newly reconfigured Vol. 7 (Picramniaceae–Rutaceae) is "in press" and will be published later this year, while Vol. 8 (Sabiaceae–Zygophyllaceae) will go to "press" in about a month. At present, we are forging ahead on Vol. 4 (Acanthaceae–Clethraceae), which will bring this project to a merciful conclusion.
MUSEO GETS A NEW DIRECTOR. The Costa Rican Ministerio de Cultura has confirmed through the news media that Lic. Rocío Fernández Salazar (journalism graduate of the Universidad de Costa Rica) has taken office as the director of the Museo Nacional, effective 1 July. She replaces Christian Kandler, who had been director since March 2011. Fernández herself had already served as director of the Museo from May 2008 to May 2010, during the second administration of Costa Rican President Óscar Arias. As reported, one of her first tasks will be to oversee transfer to the museum's custody of the approximately three million specimens (including plants and insects) bequeathed by the Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad (INBio) during the ongoing dissolution of their entire "Biociencias" department. Fernández says she expects that task to be finished by the end of 2014, "in view of the technical closure of INBio." One might ask just what INBio (apparently left with nothing but administrators, and perhaps database technicians and other assistants) expects to accomplish, without said collections and department. We also await resolution of exactly where the specimens will be housed. We sincerely hope that a rainbow does shine at the end of this tunnel, and that finally the Ministerio de Cultura will be forced to commandeer or build the appropriate edifice to comfortably contain all of their natural-history collections. Not even considering the huge INBio windfall, the Museo's plant collections have been cramped into inadequate space ever since 1989, when the facility was remodeled and the fine herbarium with two adequate floors—a work that had been overseen by former director and botanical colleague Luis Diego Gómez—was deconstructed into its present quarters. In fact, 1989 was the year of, and the need for space to house the Museum collections during remodeling the key stimulus for, the foundation of INBio. May it come to pass that these latest developments bring on another 25-year-long golden age of natural-history study to this rich coast! For more information, see:
POPEYE SETS UP SHOP! One of Costa Rica's premier botanists, Alexánder Rodríguez, has been somewhat adrift for the past several years, a casualty of the lamentable collapse of INBio. But now he has found a home, having recently been added formally to the staff of the herbarium (CR) at the Museo Nacional de Costa Rica. This is good news for all concerned, especially the Manual, as Popeye will now be in a much better position to finish up his outstanding treatments for Vol. 4 (including Asteraceae!).