Lab News

April 2015

Congratulations to Katie Heineman and Adriana Corrales on getting your papers accepted in Biotropica and Mycorrhiza! More to come soon I'm sure

Congratulations to Adriana on her NSF Dissertation Improvement Grant to sequence mycorrhizal roots from the NITROF experiment.

March 2015

Congratulations to Jessica Lira and Cecilia Prada on being accepted into our grad program (and lab). We are excited to have you join us in the Fall.

In the meantime Ceci and Jessica are busy getting plots established on Volcan Baru. Good luck with the plot at 2900 m! Cold camping!

A view of elfin forest near the summit of Cerro Copete. Jessica and Ceci will be camping here while installing a one-hectare plot

January 2015

Trip to Panama for the Illinois IGERT course in Fortuna, then on to Boquete to check out plot sites on Volcan Baru with Cecilia Prada and Ben Turner. We have a great elevational transect 1900 - 2900 m with primary oak-dominated forests and homogeneous soils. Excited to find out what the forest composition will be. Thanks also to Price Peterson for his support - and for providing "The beast".

Jim behind the wheel of "The beast", our ride up Volcan Baru

October 2014

We have compiled a detailed report on the importance of the Fortuna Forest Reserve for biodiversity conservation and scientific research. This report is written in spanish and can be freely distributed.

We are also excited to begin a new research and education partnership with STRI and the Patricia Price Peterson Foundation. We plan to start next year by establishing long-term forest dynamics plot research at Finca El Velo on the slopes of Volcan Baru, 30 km West of Fortuna at sites between 1900 and 2900 m elevation.

August 2014

Back in Illinois after a busy and productive summer at BCI and Fortuna. We completed the recensus of our 12 one-hectare plots at Fortuna and are completing a paper on the floristics of our sites. We also had a visit from Wendy Yang's students Alex Kricher and Nate Johnson who have started explore nutrient cycling beneath ectomycorrhizal and arbuscular mycorrhizal trees in the reserve. Finally, we had a visit from Clark Ovrebo from Central Oklahoma University, who helped Adriana Corrales with the identification of ectomycorrhizal fungal fruiting bodies

On BCI we have set up seed burials for 18 tree species and continue to isolate seed infecting fungi. We were also able to support Venus Kuo with an NSF REU grant to isolate fungi associated with seeds retrieved from the BCI 50 ha plot, and Jennifer Thompson with a STRI REU to examine who seedling phosphorus requirements are affected by elevated CO2.

January 2014

Good to escape the Polar Vortex for a few days at Fortuna for the Smithsonian - Illinois IGERT field course, followed by the University of Chiriqui (UNACHI) undergraduate field course co-organized by Jim and Prof. Pedro Caballero from UNACHI.

Thanks to Adriana, Cecilia and Katie for helping out with student field projects. This is the 4th undergrad field course we have run at Fortuna - we hope to keep this going long-term.

Fortuna field group old and new: Jim, Adriana, Jennifer, Katie and Cecilia

University of Chiriqui students Jonathan and Ana collecting data for their independent project

October 2013

Thanks to Patrick Martin for organizing the NSF-RCN workshop on montane cloud forests at Pingree Park, Colorado. Lots of good discussion and ideas on how to coordinate our data collection across multiple montane forest sites. I was especially interested to talk to Bob Lawton and Mark Mulligan about cloud, fog and rain. This has been a key piece of information limiting our understanding about Fortuna tree communities. Bob and Mark have fantastic remote sensed cloud, fog and rain maps. Bob tells us Fortuna is the cloudiest place in Central America!

August 2013

A busy summer is nearly over. It's also the first time in a while that everyone from the lab has been in Panama (who is taking care of the plants in Morrill Hall?). It's been an interesting mix of activities this year - seeds and fungi on BCI; seedlings and phosphorus in Gamboa; plants, nutrients, carbon and mycorrhizas at Fortuna; wood decomposition at Coiba.

Back from Coiba after spending three days removing wood samples from their various burial locations in fresh and salt water in our three Coiba rivers. The experiment is in good shape. Lots of work ahead grinding, extracting, digesting, combusting, sequencing, HPLCing and NMRing... August also means lots of humpback whales around the island...

OK enough whales Didi and Sergio... back to the fungus-covered sticks please!

May 2013

Congratulations to Pim Tiansawat and Elena Lobo for successfully defending theses this semester. Good luck in tropical Chang Mai and sub-sub-sub tropical Guildford respectively.

Congratulations to Katie Heineman on her NSF Dissertation Improvement Grant - keeping up our 100% record on DIG proposals (no pressure Adriana!)

Welcome to our new Panama-based interns, Sergio Mosquera and Didi Suarez, on our Dimensions of Biodiversity project. More about Didi, Sergio and the project on our Dimensions project website Coiba aquatic fungi, which we are just starting to put together.

Thanks U of I Research Board! Very pleased to have received funding from the Research Board to recensus our Fortuna forest dynamics plots. The recensus of the 12 one-hectare plots should take about a year and will be done by our new Fortuna plot coordinator Cecilia Prada, ably assisted by Fredy Miranda and Bady Garcia. Welcome Cecilia! Don't worry, it's all down hill once you finish Samudio (well, except Verrugosa B perhaps).

Thanks Eloisa Lasso for the seminar invitation to Los Andes. Great to see you are amañando en Bogotá. Fantastic trip to Chingaza with Camilo Zalamea and Carolina Sarmiento

Dept. of Plant Biology School of Integrative Biology
Program in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology University of Illinois