Skip to main content

Newsletter: December 1999

at the University of Missouir - St. Louis


Vol. VII, No1 - Dec 1999


Ted Turner will receive the World Ecology Award from the International Center for Tropical Ecology at a gala dinner to be held on Thursday June 8, 2000. Turner was selected to receive the medal because of his long-term commitment to environmental issues and his efforts to raise public awareness that surround these issues. Ted Turner is vice chairman of Time Warner, Inc., the world's leading media company. He was born in Cincinnati, Ohio and moved to Savannah, Georgia when he was nine years old. He graduated from Brown University and began his business career as an account executive for what has become Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.

Ted Turner, the recipient of numerous honorary degrees, is an active environmentalist. He crusades for cleaner transportation, sustainable population growth, wilderness conservation and greener business. He has worked to conserve endangered species, including Mexican wolves, California condors, black-tailed prairie dogs and desert bighorn sheep. He manages the largest private herd of bison on his ranch in Montana and recently reintroduced wolves to this property. He has received numerous civic and industry awards and honors and was Time magazine's Man of the Year in 1991.

Ted Turner is a member of the board of directors of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Change, the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, the International Founders Council of the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian and the Business Council of the United Nations. He is president of the Turner Foundation, the Turner family's private grant-making organization, which focuses on population and the environment. He also chairs the United Nations Foundation, a charitable organization he founded to support United Nations causes. This foundation funds population and women's projects and programs which directly help the environment and children.

Previous recipients of the World Ecology Award include: John Denver (Colorado), Captain Jacques Cousteau (France), Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan (Switzerland), Dr. Paul Ehrlich (California), President José María Figueres (Costa Rica), Dr. Richard Leakey (Kenya) and Dr. Jane Goodall (United Kingdom).

This Newsletter describes recent activities of the International Center for Tropical Ecology. Established in 1990 in cooperation with the Missouri Botanical Garden, the Center promotes research and education in tropical biology, ecology, evolution, systematics, and the conservation of tropical ecosystems. The Center provides financial support to graduate students enrolled in UM-St. Louis studying tropical ecology and conservation. The Center also has a commitment to undergraduate education in conservation biology and promotes an awareness within the St. Louis community of the importance of conservation and environmentally sustainable policies and practices.


In a few weeks from now, we will enter the new millennium, and posted on every computer in our house and office is the note: "Y2K update". The same technology that has catapulted our lives into a new age, likely beyond the imaginations of those who lived 100 years ago, has also resulted in billions of dollars being spent to prevent Y2K disasters. Some, as evidenced by a new TV movie, Y2K, are taking advantage of people's worst fears by showing clips of disasters occurring just after midnight on the last day of the century. During the last 25 years, well known environmentalists and conservationists have warned of ecological disasters that await us in the new century if action is not taken to prevent their occurrence or reverse the trends. In a recent interview in Audubon magazine, E. O. Wilson noted that "If we continue at the current rate of deforestation and destruction of major ecosystems like rain forests and coral reefs, where most of the biodiversity is concentrated, we will surely lose more than half of all the species of plants and animals by the end of the 21st century." As Wilson, Peter Raven, and other scientific leaders have pointed out, these losses will have large negative effects on human societies through impacts on watersheds, rainfall, and air quality. In the Amazon, the forest, through evaporation, is a major source of the rain that falls on the area, and deforestation, together with smoke from fires which disrupt precipitation events, will result in significantly less rainfall in the Amazon region. Permanent grasslands may then replace forest, thus disrupting atmospheric cycles beyond the region, potentially leading to increased drought conditions in the major agricultural regions of southern Brazil. In October this year, the earth's human population passed 6 billion people. The "good" news is that the rate of population growth is slowing, but as Lester Brown, from Worldwatch Institute tells us, the real question now is "how do we reestablish a workable balance between population size and water, population size and grain, population size and seafood? A recent Worldwatch Institute report, Pillar of Sand, documents the continuing depletion of aquifers around the world. Brown says that "we are using water faster than it can be replenished." Moreover, Brown, in the same issue of Audubon which featured E. O. Wilson, states that the world can produce only enough grain to feed 2.5 billion people if they eat like Americans; 5 billion people if they eat like Italians; or 10 billion people if our diets match those of people from India. Brown calls for the world to restructure its economy, or be faced with both environmental and economic decline. We must be willing to put taxes on the externalities we have ignored in the present economy. In other words, we must pay up front for costs associated with environmentally destructive activities, such as changes in climate from fossil fuel burning, increased health-care costs due to air pollution, and use of old-growth timber. This restructuring, Brown says, would build an environmentally sustainable economy, but would be akin to a revolution. Such a revolution requires individuals to become politically active and informed. Political polls tell us that a healthy environment has emerged as a priority for many citizens in the US and other nations. Indeed, some major policy actions that work towards protection of the environment, and conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, have occurred at national and international levels. Yet, much more needs to be done. E. O. Wilson believes that "the fate of the world's flora and fauna depends on a combination of science, education, and ethics....We have to get an understanding of biodiversity into the mainstream of public consciousness so it becomes a principal factor in economic and social policy." We need not only a revolution in the global economy, but also a small revolution in education. Educators must become more effective at multidisciplinary education, so that students can grasp the intricate web between science, ethics, policy, economics, and sociology. Multidisciplinary programs exist on a number of campuses throughout the US, but how effective are these programs? Are we educating scientists that can communicate results of their research to their colleagues in other disciplines, the public, and in ways which can impact policy? Do students emerge as broader thinkers that can design questions of multidisciplinary interest and use, and be able to synthesize, integrate, and critically evaluate such information? It seems that there are no shortages of resolutions for the new millennium that would serve to move us towards an environmentally and economically sustainable planet. The need to do so is abundantly clear. So if you are like me, stop procrastinating, update your computer(s) for Y2K, and start posting your millennium resolutions for yourself and for the planet.

Bette Loiselle, ICTE Director


The Board of Directors for the Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS) met in St. Louis at the end of October. OTS is a consortium of more than 50 universities around the world that provides leadership in education, research, and the responsible use of natural resources in the tropics. ICTE Director, Dr. Bette Loiselle and ICTE associate, Dr. David Clark serve on the OTS Board of Directors and Bette Loiselle is also a member of the Organization's Strategic Planning Committee. The ICTE were delighted to host a reception for the OTS' Directors at the home of Julie and Michael Cowhey.


Five Compton Fellowships in Environment and Sustainable Development were awarded this year. Compton Fellowships support graduate students from sub-Saharan Africa or Central and South America who are pursuing studies in the field of environment and sustainable development, and who have a strong commitment to returning to their home countries. The ICTE was privileged to award Compton Fellowships to Katheryne Aldas (Ecuador), Sandra Arango (Colombia), Iván Jiménez (Colombia), Lucio Malizia (Argentina), and Grace Servat (Peru).


The ICTE is privileged to announce the establishment of two new scholarships. The Jane Harris Scholarship in Tropical Botany has been established through an endowment and will support UM-St. Louis graduate students engaged in research in tropical botany and conservation biology with an emphasis on threatened plants and tropical ecosystems. Jane Harris' love of botany and concern for the biotic riches of this planet was well known in St. Louis, as was her love of orchids. She was an active philanthropist, and keen supporter of the Missouri Botanical Garden and the International Center for Tropical Ecology. This scholarship is intended to encourage botanical studies on endangered flora, a matter of great concern to Jane Harris.

Through a generous donation from Frank and Teg Stokes and contributions from their friends, the ICTE has established the Stokes Family Scholarship in Tropical Conservation. This endowed scholarship is available to UM-St. Louis graduate students conducting research in tropical ecology, conservation biology, and/or public policy of conservation and sustainable development. This scholarship will foster studies that will contribute to solving pressing conservation issues in tropical environments.


We are delighted to announce that Dr. Patricia Parker will be joining the faculty in the Department of Biology as the E. Desmond Lee and Family Fund Endowed Chair in Zoological Studies. This position will strengthen links between UM-St. Louis and the Saint Louis Zoo. Dr. Parker, presently with the Department of Evolution, Ecology and Organismal Biology at Ohio State University, has been using genetic approaches (e.g., DNA finger-printing) to ask reproductive and conservation related questions on a wide range of organisms, including a number of endangered species. She is involved in an ongoing study of Galapagos hawks, a raptor endemic to the Galapagos archipelago. These birds exhibit strong geographic behavior as they are monogamous on some islands and strongly polyandrous on others. These populations represent the most extreme avian example of this unusual mating system and provide a wonderful opportunity to interrelate behavioral ecology with conservation genetics.


The XVI International Botanical Congress was held at the America's Center, St. Louis from August 1-7, 1999. The Missouri Botanical Garden organized this spectacular event at which over 4500 scientists from around the world met to discuss the latest research in the plant sciences. Dr. Peter Raven was the Congress President and Dr. Peter Hoch was the Secretary-General charged with overseeing the organization of the congress. These congresses are particularly notable because they bring together a diversity of plant scientists from the fields of botany, mycology, plant ecology, horticulture, and agriculture. The Congress was incredibly well-organized and, by all measures, a resounding success.


The Conservation Forum constitutes a wonderful addition to the ICTE calendar and the third annual forum was held at The Living World, Saint Louis Zoo on Wednesday, October 6. Dr. Meg Symington, Program Director for Latin America and the Caribbean with World Wildlife Fund and Dr. Jonathan Losos, Trustee with the Missouri Chapter of The Nature Conservancy presented keynote addresses in the evening program. Dr. Symington's talk was entitled "Andes to Amazon: Latin American Conservation for the 21st century." She described the challenges facing WWF and conservationists in this biologically and culturally rich region. Dr. Losos described his ecological experiments on reptile populations on Caribbean islands in his talk: "What field experiments tell us about the processes of extinction and evolution, and the conservation of biodiversity: A case study from the Bahamas."

The following papers were delivered in the afternoon session: Dr. George Yatskievych, Missouri Department of Conservation and Missouri Botanical Garden: "What do we know about plants of conservation concern in Missouri?" Dr. Walter C. Crawford, Jr., World Bird Sanctuary: "Reintroduction programs for Peregrine Falcons, Barn Owls and Bald Eagles: Rebuilding the wild gene pools for the future." Eric Miller, Saint Louis Zoo: "Field research conservation programs at the Saint Louis Zoo." Richard Thom, Missouri Department of Conservation: "The role of the Natural History Section in conserving biodiversity." Dr. Zuleyma Tang-Martinez, International Center for Tropical Ecology: "Animal behavior? What does that have to do with conservation?" Patti Redel, David Knisley and Danny Brown, Missouri Department of Conservation: "The strategic plan for Columbia Bottom."

Over 180 people attended the forum and we greatly appreciate the financial and logistical support provided by the Director of the Saint Louis Zoo, Charlie Hoessle, and his staff, particularly Jim Jordan, Associate Curator of Education. The forum was co-sponsored by the Missouri Botanical Garden, The Nature Conservancy (Missouri Chapter) and World Wildlife Fund.


The theme for this year's World Ecology Day held on October 22, 1999, was "Frontiers in marine biology and conservation." Dr. Douglas Wartzok, Dean of the Graduate School and Professor in Biology at UM-St. Louis presented the keynote address: "Life beneath the ice and waves: Research on seals and whales." Dr. Ian R. MacDonald, with the Ocean Sciences Division in the College of Geosciences, at Texas A&M University described his work on deep sea animal communities: "Life without light: Animal communities, deep-sea seeps and vents." Dr. Mary Ratnaswamy, School of Natural Resources, University of Missouri-Columbia presented a paper entitled: "Raccoons and sea turtles: a conservation dilemma."


The following student associates of the ICTE have completed their doctorates recently: Jaqueline Goerck (Dissertation title: "Ecology, evolution, and biogeography of Drymophila antbirds (Thamnophilidae, Aves) in the Neotropics"; advisor: Bette Loiselle); Gerardo Avalos (Dissertation title: "Photosynthetic acclimation of canopy branches and seedlings of lianas to light changes in a tropical dry forest"; advisor: Stephen Mulkey); Catherine Graham (Dissertation title: "Individual, species, and community level responses by birds to forest fragmentation in southern Mexico"; advisor: John Blake).

The following students have completed their masters degrees: Deby Arifiani (Thesis title: "Taxonomic revision of Bornean Endiandra (Lauraceae)"; advisor: Henk van der Werff); Antony Jardim (Thesis title: "A revision of Roucheria Planch, and Hebepetalum Benth"; advisor: P. Mick Richardson); Patricia Ojeda-Salvador (Thesis title: "A multi-scale analysis of the effects of resource density on levels of floral gall infestation and pre-dispersal and predation in Calliandra angustifolia"; advisor: Carol Kelly); Rosa Ortiz-Gentry (Thesis title: "Systematics of Curarea Barneby and Krukoff (Menispermaceae)"; advisor: Henk van der Werff).


Dr. Ricardo Rueda is Dean of the Biology Department at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Nicaragua-León. The Ministerio del Ambiente y Recursos Naturales de Nicaragua has received funding from the Government of Finland for a large project in Conservation and Natural Resources Management, and part of the funding will be earmarked to augment the knowledge of Nicaragua's biodiversity, including strengthening institutions working with plants, such as the three main herbaria in the country. Ricardo has been hired by the Ministry to represent them in this part of the project and he recently visited the Missouri Botanical Garden with a representative from the Finnish Government to discuss ways of collaborating in this area. The Garden will most likely sign an agreement with the Ministerio del Ambiente y Recursos Naturales de Nicaragua to provide them with electronic data on the plants of Nicaragua and to work together to develop and implement a comprehensive plan for institution building, including training of Nicaraguans working in biodiversity.

David Shores, Chair of the ICTE's Development Board and UM-St. Louis alumnus has received the Washington University Distinguished Alumni Award, presented to him by former President George H. Bush.

Stan Braude gave an invited seminar to the Neurobiology and Physiology Department at the University of Connecticut in October and his recent cover article in the Journal of Mammalogy (August) was reviewed in the New York Times Science Section on October 19. John Blake, ICTE faculty associate and associate professor in Biology, gave an invited keynote lecture (Estructura y variación de las comunidades de aves a lo largo de gradientes altitudinales; Structure and variation of bird communities along altitudinal gradients), at the XIX Meeting of the Argentine Ecological Society (Asociación Argentina de Ecología) held in Tucumán, Argentina, 21-23 April. The conference was organized by Laboratorio de Investigaciones Ecológicas de las Yungas, Universidad Nacional de Tucumán. Lucio Malizia, an Argentinian student enrolled in the Ph.D. program at UM-St. Louis, organized a symposium at the meeting and also presented results of his research on bird communities. Jane Whitehill attended the VIII International Aroid Conference held at the Missouri Botanical Garden in August 1999. Her papers will be published in the Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden. She will be coordinating the new Molecular Systematics Working Group on Araceae and also the formation of a database on endogenous heating in aroids.

Susanne Renner was awarded an UM-St. Louis Research Award to work on "Understanding melastome stamen evolution: a molecular-phylogenetic approach." Susanne has recently published the first molecular phylogeny for the Laurales, an order of basal flowering plants (American Journal of Botany 86(9): 1301-1315).

Bob Marquis will continue as Editor of Biotropica, the most widely read professional journal in tropical biology, for another five years and in his first term as editor was very successful in reducing the time to publication of manuscripts. Dr. Zuleyma Tang-Martinez, was a recent panelist on KWMU's program St. Louis on the air. Zuleyma discussed issues surrounding the interaction of genes and environment on human behavior, race and gender.

Aida Alvarez has been awarded a $27,000 graduate fellowship by the American Orchid Society and the Furniss Foundation for her doctoral studies at the City University of New York and the New York Botanical Garden. Aida's research will focus on the systematics of Gomphichis-a small genus of high elevation, terrestrial orchids found throughout the Andes. Aida, who, is from Ecuador, completed her masters degree at UM-St. Louis in 1997. Deborah Tobin has received financial support for her dissertation project on olfactory communication and conservation biology of North American river otters in Missouri from the Webster Groves Nature Study Society's Mickey Scudder Field Research Grant, TWA's Environmental Research Award/Scholarship, and the Saint Louis Zoo's Field Research for Conservation award. Tibisay Escalona has received research awards from the Cleveland Metropolitan Zoo and the Organization for Tropical Studies for her work on threatened Terecay turtle in Venezuela.

Gerardo Avalos has returned to his professorship at the University of Costa Rica where he is taking a lead role in developing the conservation biology program. Jaqueline Goerck (Brazil) has returned to Brazil where she will be working with BirdLife International, a non-governmental organization based in Cambridge, England. Jaqueline will assist in establishing BirdLife International's program in Brazil. Deby Arifiani has returned to the National Herbarium at Bogor, Indonesia. Trisha Consiglio has joined the Center for Plant Conservation as GIS technician. Trish completed her masters in biology and the Certificate in Tropical Biology and Conservation at UM-St. Louis. Trish has worked on conservation projects in the midwest and Guyana and was a conservation intern with the Missouri Botanical Garden in 1996.


The E. Desmond Lee and Family Fund Laboratory in Molecular Systematics has been busy this past Fall. Dr. Elizabeth Kellogg, the Des Lee endowed professor in Molecular Systematics, which links UM-St. Louis and the Missouri Botanical Garden, has been conducting studies on floral development and systematics of plants in the grass family, the world's most important food crop family. Some of this work has been supported by a grant from NSF to Dr. Kellogg, which has allowed a number of international visitors to come to UM-St. Louis. Joining Dr. Kellogg this year as post-doctoral associates are Dr. Hugo Cota (Mexico), who is running the lab and assisting Dr. Kellogg in training students and faculty in molecular systematics, Dr. Liliana Giussani (Argentina), and Dr. Andrew Doust (Australia) and as graduate students from UM-St. Louis, Missouri Botanical Garden, and Washington University-Lucia Lohmann (Brazil), Zacharia Magombo (Malawi), Sylvain Razafimandimbison (Madagascar), Mark Beilstein, (USA) and Simon Malcomber (United Kingdom), Thomas Prinzie (Belgium), and Jason Bradford (USA). Also visiting the lab were Dr. Rosalba Gomez-Martinez from Venezuela, and Dr. Fernando Zuloaga from Argentina.

Dr. Kellogg and several members of the lab presented their work at the International Botanical Congress in St. Louis this last August. Dr. Kellogg has also given talks to biology colleagues at University of California-Davis, UC-Berkeley, UM-Columbia, and Washington University, and gave the 1999 John Davidson Memorial Lecture at the University of British Columbia. Dr. Kellogg has published several papers over the last year, including ones on grass development and the response of grasses to climate change. Dr. Kellogg and Dr. Peter Stevens, also on the UM-St. Louis faculty, with their colleagues Walter Judd (University of Florida) and Christopher Campbell (University of Maine), have published a textbook of Plant Systematics, which is being adopted by numerous universities around the country.


The $50,000 challenge grant for the John Denver Memorial Scholarship in Tropical Ecology was met this past month and we thank everyone who has contributed their time, effort, and money to help us meet this goal. We especially thank Hal and Carole Kroeger, for their generosity in setting the challenge with an initial gift of $25,000 and their efforts in helping us find the matching gifts. Hal and Carole were close friends of John Denver and although this scholarship can do nothing to lessen their pain of losing John, it does provide a means for students to conduct scientific research which will help conserve tropical ecosystems, an issue John Denver cared deeply about. We also want to thank Ron and Kim Bonine, and of course their daughter Ronnie, for their gifts and help-they have been instrumental in letting fans of John Denver around the world know of the existence of the scholarship. Other key supporters have been Rosemary Good, Conny Staedtler, Christine Moon, Mary Ledford, Pam Beasley, Christine Smith, Gerald Keil and Allison Kenney. We thank you all! As you read this, Luciana Griz, the second recipient of the Denver scholarship is busy working on the ecology and restoration of trees in Brazil's highly endangered caatinga (dry forest) ecosystem.


On 11 October 1999, more than 200 people gathered in Aspen, Colorado, for a full day of talks and evening performances at Inn at Aspen Resort Hotel and Conference Center for the "Let This Be A Voice" symposium organized by Mary Ledford and Pamela Beasley. The symposium brought John Denver fans and friends from around the globe to Aspen to celebrate Denver's many accomplishments both on and off the stage, to remember and hear about the causes he believed so strongly in, and to see old friends and meet new ones. The day was absolutely gorgeous with brilliantly blue clear skies, a few Aspens clinging to their bright yellow-gold leaves, and snow cover on the tops of the mountains.

The John Denver Charity Auction was held to raise money for a number of environmental, educational, and social causes, and four individuals spoke about their organizations, including Dr. Bette Loiselle, ICTE Director; Ken Davies, Denver Music Association; Charlene Finney, Myra Gainer Music Foundation; and Dr. Corie Campbell, Daystar Commission. The group was then entertained with slides from an expedition to visit the northernmost piece of land on this globe, and its plans for a quest to explore some of the northernmost peaks, where it hopes to name one of those peaks in honor of John Denver. That evening, the audience enjoyed performances by several artists, including Pete Huttlinger and Chris Nole, who played with John up until his death. The next day, many of the group drove over Independence Pass to Salida, Colorado, to a special lunch event organized by Christine Smith, noted free-lance journalist. Christine has written many articles about John Denver, the environment, and the causes he worked so hard for during his career. She also founded "Dreams of Freedom", a not-for-profit effort to bring songs of John Denver into prisons, drug-rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, to give people hope and encouragement. For more information about the Let This Be A Voice symposium or to see Christine's writings about John Denver visit the following web sites:


Conservation was the most popular topic among over 400 people gathered in Monterrey (Mexico) for the VI Neotropical Ornithological Congress (NOC), held from October 3-8, 1999. There were 14 symposia and sessions on bird conservation, ranging from those narrowly focused on particular taxa (parrots, waterfowl, shorebirds, galliformes) or regions (North America, Mexico) to those with broader interests. Several symposia dealt with the policy rather than the biology of conservation. The two most popular conservation symposia were: "Ecology and conservation of Neotropical parrots" and "Conservation priorities for birds at risk in Latin America." Two full days were devoted to the first of these with presentations on habitat use, demography, social systems, reproductive biology, genetic variability, systematics, biogeography, use, and management of Neotropical parrots. The widely publicized concerns about the conservation of parrots have generated a wealth of information on the biology of these species which is now available for managers and decision makers.

The symposium on "Conservation priorities for birds at risk in Latin America" attracted a large audience. The thrust of this symposium was to identify areas of suitable habitat for species of conservation concern, and to prioritize them in order to direct effective conservation efforts. Different criteria can be used to prioritize areas for conservation, the most popular being species richness and number of endemic species. An important theme in this symposium was the use of GIS to model bird distributions, and thereby identify important areas for conservation. Tom Brooks, from the Center for Advanced Spatial Technology at the University of Arkansas, showed how sets of areas can be chosen by constructing maps overlaying the geographic distribution of species, and by conducting complementary analysis and GAP analysis on such maps. The outcome of these analyses, however, depends on the accuracy of the maps describing the species geographic distribution. Bette Loiselle and Jaqueline Goerck, from the ICTE, showed, with their research on cotingas of the Brazilian Atlantic Forest, how museum data and environmental maps can be used to improve the accuracy of the geographic distributions of species. They used GIS to model areas of occupancy-the area over which a species is actually found-(as opposed to extent of occurrence-the area between the outermost limits to the occurrence of a species). Ideally, areas of occupancy, not extent of occurrence, should be used to conduct complementarity and GAP analysis.

After the local Mexican universities, the contingent from UM-St. Louis was among the strongest at the meeting, as can be seen from the list of presentations: "Habitat use, movements, and survival of manakins (Pipridae) in northeastern Costa Rica" by John Blake and Bette Loiselle; "Modeling movements of Keel-billed Toucans in a fragmented landscape in southern Mexico" and "Patterns of habitat selection by Keel-billed Toucans in a fragmented landscape in Southern Mexico" by Catherine Graham; "Altitudinal migrations by tropical frugivorous birds: a review of patterns and processes" by Bette Loiselle and John Blake; "Modeling historic distributions of Cotingidae in the Atlantic Forest of Brazil" by Bette Loiselle and Jaqueline Goerck; "Individual, seasonal, and daily variation in the diet of Black Curassows (Crax alector, Cracidae)" by Iván Jiménez; "Seasonal fluctuations of birds and resources (fruits and flowers) in a subtropical forest in Argentina" by Lucio Malizia; "The vocal repertoire of the Socorro Mockingbird", "Patterns of dispersal and site fidelity in Socorro Mockingbirds", and "Conservation status of the Townsend's Shearwater of the Revillagigedo Archipelago, Mexico" by Juan Martínez; "Colombia's bird conservation strategy" and "Effect of forest fragmentation and landscape matrices on the composition and abundance of subandean avifaunas" by recent ICTE alum Luis Miguel Renjifo; and "Comparative study of the foraging behavior of Leptasthenura xenothorax, L. pileata and L. yanacensis in the Polylepis forest of the Peruvian Andes" by Grace Servat.

What is exciting about the NOC is that it brought together so many Latin Americans. Indeed, the primary reason for the attendance of several ornithological societies, conservation NGOs, and North American Ornithologists is to strengthen their links and cooperation with Latin American counterparts. The massive attendance of Latin Americans at the congress also allows for an assessment of the state of their ornithological research. Gary Stiles, from Universidad Nacional de Colombia, thought that the quality of Latin American research has been increasing, bridging, to a considerable extent, the gap between North American and Latin American ornithology. Certainly, this is largely due to the increasing number of Latin Americans that have and are undertaking studies abroad, and to their growing influence in Neotropical ornithology. The next NOC will be held in Chile in the year 2003.


The ICTE sponsored a graduate retreat on Thursday, October 21 with presentations from biology and wildlife graduate students at UM-St. Louis and UM-Columbia. The following talks were given: Anna Chalfoun (UMC): "Songbird nest predators in forest edge and interior"; Tibisay Escalona (UM-St. Louis): "Nesting of the freshwater turtle Podocnemis unifilis in the Nichare river, Venezuela"; Jason Vokoun (UMC): "Development of a sampling protocol for channel catfish"; Chris Collins (UM-St. Louis): "Non-reproductive social behavior in the Dendrobatid frog Colestethus beebei"; Alix Fink (UMC): "Habitat-specific demography of shrubland-nesting bird species in the Missouri Ozarks"; Patricia Ojeda (UM-St. Louis): "Effect of resource density at the individual, plant, and conspecific neighbor scale on levels of floral gall infestation and pre-dispersal seed predation in Calliandra angustifolia"; Susana León (UM-St. Louis): "Herbivory in Polylepis forests"; Hyosig Won (UM- St. Louis): "Evolution of Siparunaceae (Laurales)"; Lucia Lohmann (UM-St. Louis): "Generic delimitation and morphological diversification of Bignonieae (Bignoniaceae)". It is hoped that this retreat will become a regular event.


The ICTE will lead its second ICTE Friends expedition with an exciting itinerary that includes 3 days in the Galapagos Islands and four days in the megadiverse rain forest of lowland Amazonia. If you are interested in participating in the Galapagos Islands trip (June 19-24), the trip to mainland Ecuador (June 23-July 1) or the entire adventure (June 19-July 1), please contact Patrick Osborne, 516-5219, or

From the Editor

We thank all who contributed to this newsletter. Send future contributions to the editor, Patrick L. Osborne, International Center for Tropical Ecology, University of Missouri-St. Louis, 8001 Natural Bridge Road, St. Louis, MO 63121 (Email:; FAX: 314-516-6233). If you do not wish to continue receiving this newsletter, please contact the ICTE office: 314-516-6203, email For further information on the ICTE you can visit our web page:


The Department of Biology and the International Center for Tropical Ecology offer two certificate programs in conservation biology. The Graduate Certificate in Tropical Biology and Conservation is a multidisciplinary program integrating theoretical and applied topics associated with tropical biology and conservation. This certificate is intended for those who wish to pursue a career in conservation biology from either a research or practical standpoint and those who are pursuing careers in related fields who could benefit from further formal training. The Undergraduate Certificate in Conservation Biology is intended for students with majors in biology, or any other field, who wish to develop a specialization in conservation. For further information on both of these certificate programs, contact Bernadette Dalton in the ICTE Office (516-6203;