2006 MBC News Archive
Montgomery Botanical Center
Dr. Larry Noblick, Montgomery Botanical Center's palm biologist, has described, for the first time, two rarely collected Butia species -- B. exospadix and B. marmorii.Butia exospadix and B. marmorii (at center of photo) imitate grass and were discovered in the natural grasslands on the border of Paraguay and Brazil. As author of these species, Dr. Noblick brings to light species that might not even be recognized as palms.
Butia exospadix and
B. marmorii also show
similarities to Syagrus leptospatha.
Therefore, Dr. Noblick has transferred S. leptospatha to Butia; S. leptospatha is now correctly
identified as B. leptospatha.
Dr. Noblick's studies demonstrate, conclusively, the relationship among
these three Butia species.
His findings were published in the December 2006 edition of Palms, the Journal of the
International Palm Society.
Noblick has been a palm biologist at Montgomery Botanical Center since
1994. In addition to Paraguay and Brazil, he has also collected in
Argentina, Indonesia, Madagascar, New Caledonia, and Venezuela. Dr.
Noblick's research has focused primarily on the coconut-related palms,
especially Syagrus and Butia.
The Butia marmorii seeds collected by Dr. Noblick have germinated and the young seedlings are currently being propagated in Montgomery Botanical Center's nursery.
December 12, 2006
Fellow, Dr. Mónica Moraes
Moraes R., of the Herbario Nacional de Bolivia at the Institute of
Ecology, Universidad Mayor de San Andrés, La Paz, Bolivia, is
using Montgomery Botanical Center's greenhouses for a series of
germination experiments on select Bolivian palm species, with an
emphasis on Parajubaea. It
has been observed that certain species of adult palms are thriving in
the wild in Bolivia. However, very few young palms have been observed
in the understory. Determining their early life history is essential
for the long term survival of the species.
December 8, 2006, Dr. Moraes presented a public lecture in Montgomery
Botanical Center's Nixon Smiley Meeting Room: Palms of Bolivia in a Neotropical Context.
The Montgomery Botanical Fellows Program encourages scientific and educational study of MBC's palm and cycad collections, linking distinguished scientists and their work with other scientists, educators, our next generation of scientists -- the students, and the community. Generous funding from the Kelly Foundation supports The Montgomery Botanical Fellows Program.
December 4, 2006
Dr. Ken Cameron Presents
Research for Vanilla Orchid
Ken Cameron, director of The New York Botanical Garden's Cullman
for Molecular Systematics Studies and a leading orchid researcher,
visited Montgomery Botanical Center (MBC) with his colleagues, Dr.
Chengxin Fu and Dr. Xiaodong Zheng, from Zhejiang University in
December 1, Dr. Cameron presented his DNA research on Vanilla
-- the orchid
species with the greatest economic value. In this public lecture -- Vanilla
Orchid Identification: A Test Case
for Plant DNA Bardcoding
-- held in Montgomery Botanical
Center's Nixon Smiley Meeting Room, Dr. Cameron traced the extensive
DNA analysis performed to confirm Vanilla
place in the "family tree" of orchids.
is being studied to help determine the relationships and differences
among plant species. Using segments of plant DNA as DNA barcodes
reduces ambiguity and works to identify plant tissue for all stages of
the plant's life.
Botanical Center educates the community through lectures, seminars, and
workshops. MBC is open by appointment to students, educators,
scientists, historians, botanical groups, and all others interested in
scientific plant collections.
November 29, 2006
Dr. Andrew Vovides Presents
Andrew Vovides of the Instituto de Ecologia, A.C., Xalapa,
México -- and México's leading cycad researcher --
visited Montgomery Botanical Center (MBC) to advance the collaborative
cycad research in progress between the two institutions.
at MBC, Dr. Vovides presented two public lectures in Montgomery
Botanical Center's Nixon Smiley Meeting Room. The focus of Dr. Vovides'
lecture on November 27, 2006, was the phylogeny of Dioon. Dr. Vovides used Montgomery
Botanical's Dioon collections
in this study.
November 28, 2006, Dr. Vovides spoke about Education in Botanic Gardens: Sustainable
Management of Mexican Cycads in Rural Nurseries. The
Jardín Botánico Francisco Javier Clavijero started this
program in response to the illegal removal of cycads from the wild and
the destruction of cycad habitat in México. Through this
initiative, local farmers participate in cycad reforestation and
reintroduction projects. As part of the program, the farmers receive
hands-on horticultural training about growing cycads from seed. This
cycad conservation through propagation program has achieved some
successes -- the farmers, who have seen its economic value, have
accepted it, and other communities are following suit.
Vovides acknowledged the importance of botanical collections,
highlighting the accomplishments of botanic gardens in both south
Florida and México. Montgomery Botanical Center's mission is to
advance research, conservation, and education through its scientific
plant collections. Montgomery Botanical Center educates the community
about its scientific and conservation work through lectures, seminars,
and workshops focusing on its palm and cycad collections. MBC is open
by appointment to students, educators, scientists, historians,
botanical groups, and all others interested in scientific plant
Dr. Dennis Stevenson and
Dr. Damon Little
Stevenson and Dr. Damon Little are working on a major project to
illuminate the pattern of relationships among cycads and their close
relatives through DNA studies. Dr. Dennis Stevenson, Rupert Barnaby
curator and vice president for laboratory research at the New York
Botanical Garden (NYBG), is a leading expert on cycads; Dr. Damon
Little, research associate at the Institute of Systematic Botany at
NYBG, is an expert on the evolution and relationships of conifers.
Cycads are an early conifer lineage and the oldest group of seed plants
that persist to the present era.
institution for cycads, Montgomery Botanical Center (MBC) made
important contributions to this project through its live scientific
collections. Dr. Stevenson and Dr. Little spent a week at MBC gathering
material for DNA analysis, making voucher specimens, and taking
advantage of MBC's extensive documentation. MBC's curatorial work also
benefited from Dr. Stevenson's review of the collections, as he
redetermined a number of accessions.
27th, Dr. Stevenson presented a public lecture in MBC's Nixon Smiley
Meeting Room -- Cycads: From Field
Biology to Neurobiology. This gave the south Florida community
an opportunity to learn of the cutting-edge research in this
fascinating plant group.
Botanical Center's core mission is to advance research, conservation,
and education through scientific plant collections, and this
collaboration with the New York Botanical Garden directly addresses
those core objectives.
Montgomery Fellow, Dr. John
Botanical Research Fellow, Dr. John Dowe of the Australian Centre for
Tropical Freshwater Research, made significant progress in researching
palm hurricane and cyclone damage during his visit to Montgomery
Botanical Center (MBC). Dr. Dowe examined MBC's living collection of
Australian palms, assessing the damage from south Florida's 2005
hurricanes. Relevant databases were prepared and adapted to allow
comparative examination across years and different strength hurricanes.
In public lectures held in MBC's Nixon Smiley Meeting Room, Dr. Dowe covered the following:
Montgomery Botanical Center, MBC executive director Dr. Patrick
Griffith, MBC palm biologist Dr. Larry Noblick, and Dr. Dowe continued
their collaboration on MBC's study outlining variation in cyclone
tolerance in palms. Broadening the Montgomery Fellows program, Dr. Dowe
also met with Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden staff to collect
herbarium materials for DNA examination and access Fairchild's
herbarium for anatomical research.
Botanical Fellows Program encourages scientific and educational study
of MBC's palm and cycad collections, linking distinguished scientists
and their work with other scientists, educators, our next generation of
scientists -- the students, and the community. The Montgomery Botanical
Fellows Program is supported by generous funding from the Kelly
Lopez-Gallego Presents Zamia Research
Associate Cristina Lopez-Gallego, Doctoral Candidate at the University
of New Orleans, presented her research on Zamia with a seminar given at
the Nixon Smiley Meeting Room at 2:30 PM on Friday, August 11th.
Cristina investigates genetic and adaptive divergence in populations of
Zamia fairchildiana in the Osa Peninsula of Costa Rica. As
part of these studies, Cristina has ongoing adaptation experiments
underway in MBC's greenhouse.
excellent seminar highlighted the vital importance of live research
collections to complement and augment essential field and laboratory
based investigations. The MBC team was especially happy to receive
Cristina's grateful acknowledgement.
MBC's Accomplishments Presented at Two National Meetings
Griffith, Montgomery Botanical Center's executive director, represented
MBC at two national
meetings this summer -- The American Public Gardens Association (APGA)
conference, and the Botany 2006
selected MBC's proposed symposium, titled "Cultivating Discoveries:
Integrating Collections and Research" for inclusion in its 2006
conference held in San Francisco. Patrick moderated and spoke at this
symposium, which also included lectures by Dr. Scott Zona of Fairchild
Tropical Botanic Garden, and Michael Dosmann of Cornell University.
These lectures generated a very productive discussion about the future
roles and uses of collections at botanic gardens.
held at Chico State University, Patrick presented Montgomery Botanical
Center's research on how
hurricanes affect various species of palms differently. The abstract
can be viewed
theme of these presentations is the importance of
scientifically-documented live plant collections in advancing botanical
knowledge. With its commitment to long-term stewardship of plant
collections and data, Montgomery Botanical Center is a vital resource
for advancing knowledge
in tropical botany.
Gifford Arboretum Group
June 6, 2006
Barton, Montgomery Intern
Center welcomes Logan Barton, a horticulture student from Texas A&M
University in College Station, Texas. Logan is MBC's first intern in
the inaugural year of the Montgomery Internship Program. He brings
experience working with subtropical horticulture at Texas A&M's
Horticultural Gardens, and is interested in expanding his education in
tropical and subtropical horticulture.
Montgomery Botanical Center is committed to education in botany and horticulture. By supporting this internship program, MBC participates in training young horticulturists, and also benefits from the latest techniques being developed at colleges like Texas A&M.
Kampong Hosts International Conference
hosted the 5th International Tropical Flowering Tree Color Conference
this past weekend, which included a number of distinguighed speakers.
The keynote speaker, Dr. Harry Lorenzi of Brazil, is a longtime
collaborator in the Palm biogeographic work of Dr. Larry Noblick. As
part of the conference, MBC hosted a delegation of speakers and
partcipants from Singapore, Australia, Brazil, and South Florida for a
survey of collections on June 5th.
MBC was very happy to participate in this very successful and exciting conference, and we offer our congratulations to The Kampong and the Tropical Flowering Tree Society for organizing this wonderful event.
Cristina Lopez-Gallego Named First MBC Research Associate
January 14, 2006
FIU Graduate Geology Site Visit