UH grad student researching in Mexico
Here in Veracruz I'm basically studying a type of forest management
that's fairly widespread throughout southern Mexico and Guatemala.
People here cut and sell the leaves of various species of understory
palms for use in flower arranging (believe it or not there is an
international market for it). In order to increase their resource
base, they've begun planting (mostly native) palm seedlings in primary
and secondary forest. Although the overstory is left intact, they
"clean" (limpiar) the understory in order to increase
light levels for the palms. I'm interested in how these changes
in vegetative cover and light levels from cleaning affect regeneration
of canopy trees within the plantations. I'm currently in the process
of quantifying seedling abundance, cover and light availability
in plantations and in the surrounding non-managed primary forest.
So I suppose the project contains a bit of ethnobotany, but my methods
and background is more in straight terrestrial ecology.
Speaking of my background, I have a BS in biology from the Univ.
of Denver. My interest in tropical ecology really began there both
through courses with my advisor who works in Costa Rica and a field
course to Amazon basin of Ecuador and the Galapagos. My first project
was my honor's thesis which examined the use of plant allometry
for non-destructive biomass sampling in Canyon lands National park,
After graduating, I worked as a wildlifebiologist for a couple
years. For my first two internships over the winter of 99-00, I
radio-tracked feral cats and mongoose on Mauna Kea for the USGS
and then worked in the Hanawi rainforest doing predator control
and general bird monitoring for the Maui Forest Bird Project. Afterwards
I moved just north of Santa Cruz, California to radio-track threatened
seabirds (marbled murrelets) for a PhD project at UC Berkeley. The
following winter I worked on a National Forest Service project doing
vegetation surveys along lynx tracks just north of Missoula, Montana.
The spring of 2001, I got another job with murrelets, this time
doing nighttime captures and radio-tagging from a boat off the coast
of Vancouver island. The summer before starting at UH I got the
chance to volunteer on a bird project for the Canadian Wildlife
Service on Ellesmere Island, about 450 miles below the north pole,
where I was banding shore birds and tracking arctic foxes.
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