Plant Seeking....Plant

“In the smaller fragments of forest, there are much fewer plants, maybe 150-200 per hectare versus 400-1000 in the continuous forest. Fewer plants means fewer hummingbirds, and fewer hummingbirds may mean less chance of pollination and reproduction. But what if there are less nutrients in the fragments, as well? So, I fertilize the plants, to see if that makes a difference.”

Emilio started his work with heliconia while doing research at La Selva, a research center in the Costa Rican rainforest.

“Completely different from here”, he emphasizes, gesturing around Camp 41. “La Selva is like a resort, you drive up to big gates, there’s a cafeteria... and yet you’re surrounded by rainforest. The center supports about a hundred people at any one time. I loved having the forest right next to laboratories, but then it also meant that there were lots of other people who were studying the same patches of land over and over. Here, I’m working by myself. It’s up to me to get out, find the plants, construct the experiments and collect the data.”

Emilio faced some choices when he returned to UC Davis from Costa Rica. He could have chosen to do similar plant distribution and reproduction studies much closer to home in the unique landscape and upscale surroundings of Santa Barbara and Napa Valley, California. But instead he decided to go to the Amazon. Did he choose this area because of its pristine remoteness?

Emilio’s Interview/Journals Plant Seeking....Plant    1     2     3