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Draft Treatments |
The Cutting Edge
Volume XXIV, Number 3, July 2017
News and Notes |
Leaps and Bounds | Germane Literature | Season's Pick
ALGO PARA LA HISTORIA! In addition to being the birthday of German botanist Josef Gottlieb Kölreuter (in 1733), 27 April will forever be remembered as the day (in 2017) that Costa Rican botanist Juan Francisco Morales Quirós breached the infernal hump and officially received his "union card" as a Ph.D. in his chosen field. Chico (can we still call him that?) was awarded the ultimate degree at the University of Bayreuth (in southeastern Germany) after completing exhaustive systematic and phylogenetic research on the genus Prestonia (Apocynaceae) under the supervision of his main advisor, Sigrid Liede-Schumann (see "Morales," under "Germane Literature," for some results of that work). We congratulate our good friend—and perhaps the single most important author of Manual family treatments—for his hard-won accomplishment, and welcome him to our pretentious clique! We are glad also to welcome him formally as a Research Associate at MO. Chico returned to his native land on 11 June, but it remains to be seen what the future holds. He can count on our full support, for whatever it may be worth, and we wish him the best of luck! Presently, he is one of the invited professors teaching the OTS systematics course.
COMINGS AND GOINGS. Costa Rican hepaticologist Gregorio Dauphin, our longtime friend and associate from the earliest days of INBio, recently completed a two-month stint at MO with support from a Shirley A. Graham Fellowship. Gregorio worked diligently toward the completion of a checklist of Mesoamerican hepatics, making many significant herbarium discoveries (particularly for Nicaragua) along the way. Toward the end of his stay, Gregorio's latest book, a meticulously annotated biography of Adolphe Tonduz, was published in Costa Rica. Fluent in French (his father was Haitian) and German (he earned his Ph.D. at the Universität Göttingen), as well as English and Spanish, Gregorio was singularly equipped to process the voluminous and varied literature pertinent to the realization of this ambitious project, long in the making. Gregorio has also (see previous entry) now been named a Research Associate at MO. Welcome aboard!
BILLIA RECONSIDERED. During the month of April, US post-doc AJ Harris—who informs us that the letters "AJ" are not abbreviations of anything, but rather to be taken as a (given) name unto itself—visited herbaria in Costa Rica, was accompanied by Manual co-PI Barry Hammel and his cohort Isabel Pérez to the Península de Osa, and also spent several days collecting (with Eladio Cruz) in Monteverde. The purpose of AJ's visit was to gather information and DNA material from various populations of Billia (Sapindaceae) to analyze the opposing hypotheses that just one sp. [B. rosea (Planch. & Linden) C. Ulloa & P. Jørg.] exists in Costa Rica (as according to the Manual Sapindaceae treatment by Francisco Morales), vs. two (B. hippocastanum Peyr. and B. rosea). We anxiously await her published results. Our visit to the Osa was graciously hosted by Reinaldo Aguilar, without whom the trip would have made no sense. Instead, it was a resounding success for all concerned (see also under "Season's Pick" and "Acanthaceae," under "Leaps and Bounds," in the present issue). Botanists from temperate regions with no experience in the tropics, let alone with collecting large trees therein, would be well advised to include honorable amounts of funding to support people like Reinaldo, who often lack any sort of institutional support but whose skills, knowledge, and experience make them invaluable and absolutely necessary associates for such field work.
CHINA BOUND. Manual co-PI Nelson Zamora (INBio) applied successfully for funding to attend the XIX International Botanical Congress (IBC 2017) in Shenzhen, China, and departs Costa Rica on 15 July. Nelson will present a talk entitled "The legume genus Dussia as a model to understand the complexity of taxonomic tree diversity, biogeography and origin of the neotropical flora," in a symposium on "Phylogenomics and Evolution of Legumes." We wish him the best of luck!
EPIDENDRA REVISITED. Quite some time ago, the appearance of "Epidendra", an orchid Web site supported by the Jardín Botánico Lankester (JBL), was announced in this column [see The Cutting Edge 15(4): 1, Oct. 2008]. We must confess that we have failed to make adequate use of this useful resource in the intervening years, and take this opportunity to remind our readers of its existence and value by means of a relevant example. Recently, we reported the ostensible rediscovery of Lepanthes guardiana Endrés ex Luer and L. minutissima Endrés ex Luer—both supposedly unaccounted for since ca. 1867—at a small, private reserve in the Montes del Aguacate (see "Rojas Álvarez," under "Germane Literature," in our last issue). However, both spp. had already been recollected in Costa Rica several times by orchid specialists at JBL, as documented by both photos and voucher citations easily accessible on Epidendra.
Even a simple Google search would have sufficed, at least in the present case! Out of curiosity, we checked all the other 18 Lepanthes spp. known from Costa Rica (as of the publication of Manual Vol. 3) only by 19th-century collections or illustrations of A. R. Endrés, and found just two additional ones that have since been rediscovered in the country: L. atrata Endrés ex Luer and L. deformis Luer & Hirtz. Unfortunately, precise locality data are apparently unavailable on Epidendra, and the vouchers cited for Lepanthes are mainly (we think) deposited in the spirit collection at JBL. We thank Manual correspondent Adam Karremans (JBL) for refreshing our memories as regards Epidendra, and promise to consult it on a regular basis in the future!