THE CUTTING EDGE
Volume IX, Number 3, July 2002
LUIS A. FOURNIER (1935-2002). It is with great sadness that we must report
the natural death, on Friday, 5 July, 2002, of esteemed Costa Rican plant
ecologist Luis A. Fournier. A long-time professor at the Universidad de Costa
Rica, most recently with emeritus status, Dr. Fournier taught and influenced
a whole generation of biologists, including Jorge Gómez-Laurito, the
late Dora Emilia Mora, Rodolfo Ortiz and Luis Poveda. The author of several
important texts [see, e.g., The Cutting Edge 6(4): 4, Oct. 1999] and innumerable
papers, Luis Fournier will also be remembered for his pioneering studies on
phytogeography, demographics and phenology of Costa Rican plants, as well
as his early explorations of Isla del Coco. He obtained his doctorate in 1964
at the University of California, Davis. This news was forwarded to us by Jorge
Gómez-Laurito, to whom we are grateful.
REPORT FROM THE FRONT LINES. From his new office in the Congreso de la República de Costa Rica (see our last issue), former INBio curator and freshman diputado from the Provincia de Heredia Quírico Jiménez reports that learning the ropes has been a bit trying, but he is pleased (as we all should be) with what he has already been able to accomplish. His first notable success: Parque Nacional status (hence better protection) for the former Zona Protectora Cerros de La Cangreja, harboring the best and most extensive primary habitats remaining in the notoriously deforested Puriscal region. Puriscal is Quírico's native cantón, and this was one of his dreams. We wish Quírico continued success with these worthy initiatives.
NEW TREASURE TROVE. MO recently acquired the private herbarium of the late Clyde F. Reed, a well known amateur botanist with a specialty in pteridophytes. Our preliminary examination of a small sample of this booty has revealed an unexpected wealth of Costa Rican material, comprising early collections of Leslie R. Holdridge, Clarence K. Horich (mostly ferns), Jorge León, Harvey E. Stork, and one Walter James, who appears to have worked exclusively in the Monteverde region. Thanks to St. Louis Project Coordinator Mary Merello for segregating the Costa Rican specimens for special handling.
FIRST TIME IN GRINGOLANDIA. The maiden voyage of INBio curator Alexander ('Popeye') Rodríguez was no holiday. Alex spent his entire month (14 May-14 June) in St. Louis, working in the MO herbarium and library in an effort to complete his Manual treatment of Costa Rican Asteraceae. We hope he had a little fun in the process! Professionally, the experience was a grand success, though a month is little time for such a large family; Alex estimates that he was able to complete only about 50% of the work needed, and thus will have to return for another month at some point. Alex's efforts were synergized by a mutually beneficial collaboration with MO Asteraceae curator John Pruski, for which we are all grateful. Together, they revised the genus Mikania for Costa Rica (discovering 2-4 new spp. in the process), and produced a list of 12 composite spp. newly reported (or accepted) from the country (see under "Leaps and Bounds" for an abbreviated account).
VISITORS TO COSTA RICA. Manual Rubiaceae contributor Charlotte M. Taylor (MO) and worse half Roy Gereau (MO) spent two weeks in paradise as resource personnel on the most recent OTS plant systematics course, helmed once again by the redoubtable duo of Brad Boyle (affiliation unknown) and Robbin Moran (NY). Charlotte and Roy helped out at the Cuericí and San Ramón sites. Acanthaceae contributor Lucinda McDade (PH) once again visited this rich coast to help with an OTS course (at Palo Verde and La Selva), and again gave us a couple of days of her time at the INB herbarium. She is well into her Manual treatment, and promises to return soon. We may have failed to mention that Lucinda is now collaborating with fellow specialist Thomas F. Daniel (CAS), now that her original collaborator, L. H. Durkee (formerly at GRI), has retired from botany. Non-Manual visitors to INB during the past quarter (April, May and June, respectively) included: Jenny Xiang (Cornaceae, NCSC), to collect material of Cornus peruviana J. F. Macbr.; Leslie R. Landrum (Myrtaceae, ASU), with students on a tropical botany course; and Sandra Knapp (Solanaceae, BM), to participate in a World Bank review of INBio's activities. Most recently, Laurence E. Skog (Gesneriaceae, US) spent 10 days in Costa Rica in the company of his wife Judith Skog, in the country for NSF site visits. Both briefly visited INB, where Larry discovered at least one new country record (see under "Leaps and Bounds") and several probable new spp. He also spent a few hours at CR.