Cristina Lopez-Gallego, a cycad researcher from Colombia, was recently acknowledged for her valuable contribution to the Montgomery Botanical Center mission by being inducted as MBC’s first research associate.

Cristina is presently a doctoral candidate at the University of New Orleans, where she is investigating potential genetic divergence between Zamia fairchildiana populations growing in primary rainforest and disturbed habitats in the Osa Peninsula of Costa Rica.

Cristina recently returned from a two-month MBC-sponsored collecting and research expedition with plant material for her continuing investigations. While at MBC earlier this month, she initiated a seed germination experiment in MBC’s greenhouse (see photo). Once the experiment is completed, this wild-collected material will be accessioned into the MBC collection, at which time it will become an invaluable resource due to the enormous amount of quality data that will accompany the plants.