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Manual de Plantas de Costa Rica

Main | Family List (MO) | Family List (INBio) | Cutting Edge
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The Cutting Edge

Volume X, Number 4, October 2003

News and Notes |Recent Treatments | Leaps and Bounds | Germane Literature | Season's Pick

HOME ON THE RANGE. The second in a series of four intensive botanical inventories of the Península de Santa Elena, in Prov. Guanacaste, was realized during the period 13 August-4 September (thus monopolizing Manual co-PI Mike Grayum’s most recent trip to Costa Rica). Dry weather predominated, and was especially welcome during the first two weeks, when all excursions were by automobile. This phase of the operation involved INBio botanists Evelio Alfaro and José González, in addition to Área de Conservación Guanacaste (ACG) specialists Roberto (‘Lupo’) Espinoza and Adrián Guadamuz. Lots more herbs were in evidence (compared to our January experience), with Habenaria (Orchidaceae) and Polygala (Polygalaceae) conspicuously diverse. Near the end of his stay, Evelio provided ample cause for celebration by garnering his 5000th number. Evelio and José were replaced by bryologist Gregorio Dauphin and INBio generalist Francisco Morales during the more arduous, exciting, and rewarding final 10 days of the inventory, when all collecting sites were accessed by boat from our off-shore base on Isla San José, in the Islas Murciélago. Lupo and Adrián were joined by their assistant José Cortés during this period, the highlight of which was a three-day exploration of the highest portions of the península (600-700+ m), accessed via a ridge ascending from the northwestern edge of Punta El Respingue [see The Cutting Edge 10(2): 1-2, Apr. 2003]. These peaks and ridges had never before been visited by any biologist. Here we found a flora unlike any other in the region, with abundant epiphytes and terrestrial herbs; large populations of the curious root parasite Bdallophytum americanum (R. Br.) Eichler ex Solms (Rafflesiaceae) were encountered (always on Bursera schlechtendalii Engl.), as well as numerous taxa entirely new to the area, e.g., Hauya (Onagraceae). We were also able to collect on all of the named islands in the region, with the exception of the virtually inaccessible Isla Colorada. Although most of our collections are not yet dried, let alone identified in full, we can already report a probable new angiosperm record (see Poaceae entry under "Leaps and Bounds"), and Gregorio has communicated four new bryophyte records: a liverwort and a moss new to Central America, plus two mosses new to Costa Rica, all from the highest ridge of the península.

All of our work in the Santa Elena region is supported by a generous grant from the National Geographic Society. María Marta Chavarría, ACG field coordinator and co-PI on the grant, organized the island-based portion of the inventory, and we were grateful for her cheerful and energetic participation during the entire 10 days on Isla San José. Nelson Zamora (INB), our third co-PI, coordinated the activities of INBio personnel on the project. We are all indebted to Minor Lara, unerring captain of our ship; Yeilith Morales, who kept us always happily fed; and Cristian Alemán and Dinier Mendes, who blazed the trail and maintained the supply line.

WELCOME BACK! After several years in Mexico, pteridologist Alexánder Rojas is once again on Costa Rican soil, and we are happy to have him back. Alex has completed all of the coursework required for his Ph.D. and (as we understand it) has only to submit his dissertation. Meanwhile, he is busy teaching courses at the Universidad de Costa Rica’s San Ramón campus, making inroads on INBio’s considerable backlog of fern indets., and churning out new publications (see under "Germane Literature").

ON THE MOVE. Manual co-PI’s Barry Hammel and Nelson Zamora were in St. Louis for most of July and the first week of August, working in the herbarium at MO. Nelson is currently in San Francisco visiting the California Academy of Sciences with INB curator Ricardo Kriebel; both were invited to CAS by Manual Melastomataceae mentor Frank Almeda, with whom Ricardo has been in close collaboration (see our last issue, this column). Meanwhile, Barry is once again at MO, for the entire month of October, working on Clusiaceae for various projects; during his first two weeks, he was accompanied by Isabel Pérez, of INBioParque. Their colleague, INB curator Francisco Morales, returned (for most of August) to Medellín, Colombia, where he worked (mainly in herbaria) on Araliaceae, Oxalidaceae, and Proteaceae.


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