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Whitney R. Harris World Ecology Center: Newsletter: November 1998

Vol. VI, No1 - November 1998

Jane Godall to receive World Ecology Medal

Second Annual Conservation Forum

Parker-Gentry Tropical Fellowships

John Denver: A life to celebrate

Interchange program between UMSL-St. Louis and National Museums of Kenya

Ecophysiology of lianas

1998 World Ecology Day

The XVI International Botanical Congress

Alan Weisman visits UM-St. Louis



The International Center for Tropical Ecology is delighted to announce that Dr. Jane Goodall will receive the World Ecology Medal at a Gala Dinner to be held in St. Louis on April 14, 1999. On the recommendation of famed anthropologist Louis Leakey, Jane Goodall undertook a study of chimpanzees in Gombe National Park. At the time, she had no academic qualifications and arrived at Gombe in July 1960 with her mother as chaperone, a cook and his family to establish what has come to be the longest continuous study of any animal species.

She was awarded a Ph.D. in ethology by Cambridge University, only the eighth person to earn a doctorate from Cambridge without first taking a B.A. She has published her research in academic journals and has also stimulated public interest in wildlife research and conservation through her best-selling book "In the Shadow of Man". In 1976, she created the Jane Goodall Institute to support the chimpanzee study at Gombe as well as chimp orphanages and rehabilitation facilities. She continues to devote her considerable energy to encouraging people to show greater concern for wildlife and the environment.



The second annual Conservation Forum was held on Tuesday, October 6, 1998 at the Living World, Saint Louis Zoo. This year the Conservation Forum consisted of a breakout session held in the early evening and three lectures held after a light supper. Over 175 people attended the forum. In the evening session, participants heard the following excellent presentations: Dr. Alan Templeton, Professor, Department of Biology and Genetics, Washington University and trustee of the Missouri Chapter of The Nature Conservancy: "Landscape Management: The Collared Lizard vs. Smokey The Bear". Dr. Brien A. Meilleur, President and Executive Director, Center for Plant Conservation: "Plant Conservation in the United States Tropics and Sub-Tropics: The Role of the Center for Plant Conservation".and Dr. Amy Vedder, Director, Africa Programs, Wildlife Conservation Society: "Conservation in the Midst of Conflict: Lessons from Africa".

Four concurrent sessions were held before the supper interval. Dr. Walter C. Crawford, Jr., World Bird Sanctuary presented an action-packed talk with birds flying around the audience: "Live Animals in Education: Preserving Species and Biodiversity Through Interactive Educational Programs.". Bill Houston, Assistant General Curator, Saint Louis Zoo described the Saint Louis Zoo's development of field conservation programs and Dr. Susan Lindsey, Executive Director, Wild Canid Survival and Research Center presented a talk and video: "One Man's Vision: A Dream Fulfilled (How Midwesterners Saved the Endangered Red and Mexican wolves)".

Dr. Bette Loiselle and Dr. Patrick Osborne co-ordinated presentations by ICTE associates who grew up in tropical countries. Godfrey Bourne (Guyana), André Chanderbali (Guyana), Zacharia Magombo (Malawi), Tibisay Escalona (Venezuela), Lúcia Lohmann (Brazil), Luis Miguel Renjifo (Colombia) and Deby Arifiani (Indonesia) each described the conservation imperatives facing their home countries in a session entitled: "Growing Up Admist the Rain Forest: A View of Conservation Issues from Tropical Residents".

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 biodiversity, conservation, and the sustainable use of tropical ecosystems. A key role of the Center is to support an interactive, international environment in which graduate training in ecology, evolution, systematics, and tropical biology and conservation can emerge. Further, the Center has a commitment to undergraduate education in conservation biology, focusing on Missouri and temperate ecosystems. The Center also promotes an awareness within the St. Louis community of the importance of conservation and environmentally sustainable policies and practices.


Five years ago in August, two giants were lost for Neotropical biology and conservation when a plane crashed in the mountains of Ecuador-ornithologist Ted Parker and botanist Al Gentry lost their lives while conducting scientific studies for Conservation Internationalâs Rapid Assessment Program. The accomplishments and knowledge of these extraordinary biologists were legendary and they inspired and guided so many of us. At the time of their death, the International Center for Tropical Ecology was just beginning its fourth years and the new Ph.D. program in Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics within Biology at UMSL was entering its fifth year.

The Center was established in 1990 as a collaboration between the Missouri Botanical Garden and UMSL. We shared the vision of Ted and Al that we desperately need to train professionals from tropical countries as the environmental future of those countries will very much depend on the people who live there.

Al Gentry was curator at the Missouri Botanical Garden from 1967 until his death, and he was advising ten graduate students (five at UMSL) when that tragic accident in Ecuador occurred. Al said "I feel perhaps the single most important contribution I have made to the world is in helping to stimulate your Latin American students to share my concern for the fate of tropical forests". Five years later, where are we? The Center has now over 100 graduate student associates with 38 from tropical countries. Students studying in St. Louis come from 24 countries and faculty and student associates, including many of our colleagues at the Missouri Botanical Garden, work in over 50 countries throughout the world. Many have graduated and returned to their home countries as Directors of Herbaria, National Museums, and Research Stations, University professors, and professionals in national or international conservation organizations. They are demonstrating the value of professional training in the leadership roles that many are now playing in their country.

Today, as when Ted and Al were with us, ICTE student and faculty associates are discovering new species, describing little known areas, testing ecological and evolutionary theories in tropical systems, exploring the forest canopy, and unraveling the evolutionary mysteries within groups of related plants or animals. As the 1990s have matured, a new interest has focused on discovering how sustainable use of resources can coexist or complement biodiversity conservation. As Eduardo Silva, ICTE faculty associate and professor in Political Science so often reminds me, there are a multitude of actors and interests surrounding any conservation or resource use question. Developing sustainable use of natural resources that ensures long-term stability is a desirable goal. Yet, what one's concept of sustainability is will differ depending on one's perspective. Getting actors to agree on what the actual goals are, or perhaps even recognizing that the conservation and sustainable use goals differ among the players, is a major challenge. Several ICTE students are presently investigating land use consequences to biodiversity conservation, from biological, social, and political perspectives. The future of tropical forests and communities that live within these forested regions will depend on a diverse strategy which includes preservation, as well as adoption of traditional and new technologies that lead to ecological and social sustainability of resources. We must not forget the complexity of nature, nor the complex situations in which conservation policy must operate. To not do so is utterly foolish, and as Ted Parker warned "... we may look back on this time and regret what we might have done to save the open spaces for our children and grandchildren".

Bette Loiselle, Director ICTE



Each year the International Center for Tropical Ecology awards the Parker-Gentry Tropical Research Fellowship. This Fellowship is available to M.S. or Ph.D. students conducting field research in countries in which Al Gentry and Ted Parker were particularly active: Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, or Peru. Donations to this scholarship fund are tax deductible and should be sent to: Executive Director, International Center for Tropical Ecology, 8001 Natural Bridge Road, University of Missouri-St. Louis, St. Louis, MO 63121.



"Though the singer is silent...there still is the truth of the song"

Throughout October, celebrations of John Denver's life were held worldwide. For John was far more than an entertainer: he was a dedicated environmentalist and humanitarian. He will always serve, through his music and life's example, as a catalyst to inspire and motivate others to become involved and make a difference for the things he believed.

The work of the International Center for Tropical Ecology was important to John and, as the first recipient of the World Ecology Medal he, as Director Dr. Bette Loiselle says "gave inspiration to everyone". That inspiration is destined to continue here at the Center through the John Denver Memorial Scholarship in Tropical Ecology established last year to provide funding for graduate student field research. Through the generous support of the Kroeger Family Charitable Trust, friends and fans of John Denver and friends of the Center, a $43,000 endowment has been created.

As John Denver wrote: "To be human is to be nourished by the wild country...wild places nourish the heart, inspire the soul and keep songs of all life alive". The International Center for Tropical Ecology is honored to have had John Denver be a part of our mission.

The above article was edited from a piece contributed by freelance writer, Christine Smith.



Dr. Robert Magill Director of Research at the Missouri Botanical Garden visited Kenya in September and worked with Dr. Joseph Mutangah who visited the ICTE in April. They have submitted a funding proposal to the National Geographic Society to carry out plant conservation studies in Kenya. Additional grant proposals for cooperative research and training between the ICTE, National Museums of Kenya and Missouri Botanical Garden are in preparation. We acknowledge the support of the Freund Foundation and Jane and Whitney Harris for their vision in initiating this program.



Lianas are woody plants that depend on a substrate, such as trees and other plants, for mechanical support in their ascension to the forest canopy. The development of a climbing mechanism is associated with a strategy of biomass allocation that increases light interception and enhances mobility. Compared to trees, lianas invest less biomass in support relative to the leaf area maintained by conducting tissues. These differences in biomass allocation should make lianas less constrained to respond to the dynamic light conditions of tropical forests.

Lianas represent 25% of upright plants under 2 m on Barro Colorado Island, 18-20% in a "terra firme" forest in Venezuela, 23% in the Peruvian Amazon, and 11% in the dipterocarp forests of Malaysia. Lianas influence forest regeneration, tree growth, compete with trees for light and nutrients and make up a significant proportion of the canopy leaf surface. Despite their abundance and major effects on the forest, we know relatively little of their regeneration requirements and capacity to acclimate to light changes. Knowledge of the responses of tropical forest plants is restricted to just a subset of the whole range of regeneration strategies and life forms spanned by tropical forests, which limits the extent of sound management alternatives.

We studied the photosynthetic and morphological responses of seedlings of three tropical lianas (Stigmaphyllon lindenianum, Combretum fruticosum and Bonamia trichantha) to distinctive light and support conditions were in a tropical dry forest in Panama, during the wet season. We expected acclimation through changes in leaf photosynthetic traits to be more adaptive under the heterogeneous light conditions of tropical forests than adjustment through changes in overall plant morphology, which take longer to express and imply greater risks in resource investment and capacity for future adjustment. We also examined if support availability in young liana seedlings would favor higher investment in leaves than in stems, and whether it affected the switch from self-supporting to climbing forms. To test these hypotheses, one-month old seedlings were randomly assigned to one of four sequences of light treatments: high-light controls (HH), low-light controls (LL), sun-to-shade (HL) and shade-to-sun (LH), crossed with presence or absence of support in a common garden. Initial shade environments were set using 63% greenhouse shade cloth over shade houses made of bamboo poles 1.7 m tall. After 40 days of development under sun or shade, HL and LH seedlings were exposed to opposite light treatments by relocating the shade cloth. Responses to the new light conditions were monitored for another 40 days.

Maximum rates of photosynthesis at light saturation, compensation points and respiration rates of transferred seedlings in Stigmaphyllon matched those of control sequences. Bonamia and Combretum exhibited an almost completed acclimation. Acclimation was achieved with little modification of seedling biomass and leaf structure. Using a cross-over design we measured the effects of exposure to the final and initial light environment on physiological and morphological responses. We found that the final light environment explained most of the variation observed in photosynthetic characters, whereas morphological characters were determined by exposure to previous environment. Support availability neither affected the expression of the climbing mechanism in Stigmaphyllon, nor influenced the pattern of biomass distribution in young seedlings of any of the three lianas. The abundance of self-supported understory plants that are lianas is due to the light limitation of the understory, which limits increases in biomass necessary to produce the switch from self-supporting to climbing forms.

Physiological adjustment represents an important mechanism to buffer extreme changes in light in young seedlings. Studies based on morphological responses alone could provide an incomplete description of the range of responses and habitats that seedlings are able to colonize since seedlings could survive under adverse conditions through adjustment in physiological traits.

The paper described above was presented at the VII Latin American Congress of Botany held in Mexico City from October 18 to 24, 1998 by Gerardo Avalos and Stephen S. Mulkey, former Director of the ICTE. Support for this project came from the Graduate School, University of Missouri-St. Louis, the International Center for Tropical Ecology and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.



The theme for this year's World Ecology Day, held on October, 23 1998, was "Getting off the Ark: The New Role of Zoos in Species and Habitat Conservation". Three hundred and fifty students from area high schools joined faculty, ICTE associates and ICTE friends for this annual festival of lectures and environmental displays. Louise Bradshaw, Director of Education at the Saint Louis Zoo, introduced the program with a lecture entitled: "Conservation Education at Zoos and Aquariums: How We Get YOU Involved in Saving Wildlife and Wild Places". Dr. George Amato, Director of Conservation Genetics at the Wildlife Conservation Society, described the use of molecular biology techniques in a lecture entitled "Using Molecular Markers to Identify Conservation Units and Priorities". Dr. Devra Kleiman, Senior Research Scientist with the National Zoological Park was the noon speaker: "The Golden Lion Tamarins of Brazil: An Example of the Role of Zoos as Partners in Species Conservation".

During the interval participants viewed environmental displays describing the activities of the International Center for Tropical Ecology, Mid-America Aquacenter, Saint Louis Children's Aquarium, Missouri Department of Conservation, Missouri Department of Natural Resources, Missouri Environmental Fund, Saint Louis Rainforest Advocates, Saint Louis Zoo, Sierra Club, Tri-Beta Biological Honor Society and Biological Society, UMSL Bookstore, Webster Groves Nature Study Society, and Wild Canid Survival and Research Center.

The ICTE acknowledges our co-sponsors: Saint Louis Zoo, Missouri Botanical Garden and the financial support of Mallinckrodt Inc. We also thank Tri-Beta (Biology Society) for their support of this event.



Alan Weisman visited the University of Missouri-St. Louis on November 3 and gave a seminar entitled "Gaviotas: A Village to Reinvent the World". Alan Weisman is the author of La Frontera: The United States Border with Mexico. His work has also appeared in many periodicals, including The New York Times Magazine, The Los Angeles Times Magazine, Harper's, The Atlantic Monthly, and Audubon. His latest book is "Gaviotas: A Village to Reinvent the World ". Alan was part of a team assigned by National Public Radio to document possible solutions to the world's greatest environmental crises. His search led to war-torn, drug-ravaged Colombia, where he had heard about the miracle of Gaviotas. He found a symbol of hope and triumph amidst a perilous world, and kept returning to chronicle its story. His visit to St. Louis was co-sponsored by the International Center for Tropical Ecology and the Center for International Studies.


David and Janet Shores have formed a non-profit organization with the aim of discovering ecological and economic solutions to problems within the worldâs aquatic ecosystems. The Sustainable Aquatic Resources Center (SARC) will fund and administer research in aquatic ecosystems that can lead to sustainable commercial use of the resources of these ecosystems. Use of these resources must not only help preserve biodiversity, but also must improve the socioeconomic well being of the local people. David Shores is Chair of the ICTE's Development Board and the ICTE is working closely with David and Janet in this exciting venture.


Dr. Victoria Sork spent her sabbatical last year at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) at the University of California at Santa Barbara. During that stay, she organized a workshop on the topic of gene flow in natural and managed ecosystems, which was held at NCEAS in January 1998. Proceedings have been published on the internet ( Dr. Susanne Renner has recently been elected Head of the Tropical Section of the American Botanical Society. Dr. Renner is also the Program Chair for the Association for Tropical Biology meeting to be held as part of the International Botanical Congress. Dr. Toby Kellogg has now joined the faculty in the Department of Biology. Dr. Kellogg is the E. Desmond Lee and Family Fund Endowed Chair in Botanical Studies. Her husband, Dr. Peter Stevens, presently full professor and Curator of Harvard University's Herbarium, will be joining us early next year. Dr. Bette Loiselle was recently elected to a three-year term as Council Member for the Association for Tropical Biology. Bette recently gave a talk to the Wednesday Club of St. Louis where she described the role of the ICTE in tropical rain forest conservation. She will be meeting with the Garden Club of St. Louis in November.

A number of ICTE Faculty and Associates (in bold) are organizing symposia for the International Botanical Congress to be held in St. Louis in August 1999: Mitsuyasu Hasebe (Japan), and Dr. Elizabeth Kellogg are organizing a keynote symposium: Evolution of Plant Development. Dr. Barbara Schaal and William J. Bond (South Africa) are organizing a keynote symposium: Fragmentation of Natural Systems. Dr. Bette Loiselle and Luciana Griz are organizing a general symposium: "Diversity and Variation in Fruiting Plants of Tropical America: Environmental and Biogeographic Influences". Dr. Victoria Sork and Remy Petit (a French geneticist) are organizing a general symposium on landscape scale gene flow.

Several ICTE faculty and student associates presented papers or posters at the annual joint meeting of the Ecological Society of America and the Association for Tropical Biology meetings held in Baltimore from 2-6 August. Janeth Aldas-Saltos: Pollination biology of two high elevation Fuchsia species in Ecuador. Deborah Clark, Stephen Piper, Charles Keeling and David Clark: Forest- and species-level growth responses of tropical rain forest trees to interannual climatic variation, and their relation to global atmospheric CO2 anomaly: A 13-year record. Catherine Graham: A comparison of bird assemblages in two species of fruiting trees in continuous forest edge and forest fragments in Los Tuxtlas, Veracruz, Mexico (with E. Martinez-Leyva and L. Cruz-Paredes). John Lill: The effects of variable oak leaf chemistry on caterpillar performance: Testing the slow-growth-high-mortality hypothesis within a genetic framework. Robert Marquis and Josiane LeCorff: Importance of plant quality versus predation by birds and arthropods for herbivore abundance and damage to white oak. Kristine Mothershead and Robert Marquis: Direct and indirect effects of herbivory on female plant fitness in Oenothera macrocarpa. Wendy Gram and Victoria Sork: Missouri Ozark Forest Ecosystem Project (MOFEP): A collaborative experiment examining impact of forest management on ecosystem integrity.

Luis Miguel Renjifo has a paper accepted for publication in Conservation Biology, the leading journal for conservation scientists. The paper is entitled: Changes in a subandean avifauna after long-term forest fragmentation. Luis Miguel will complete his Ph.D. dissertation by the end of this year. John Lill has submitted his Ph.D. dissertation: "The influence of adjacent trophic levels on life history evolution in Psilocorsis quercicella (Lepidoptera: Oecophoridae)". His defense will be held on November 18, 1998.

Frank Wolff spent an exciting summer internship working with the Centro Nacional para a Conservação dos Predadores Naturais and Associação Pró-Carnívoros in Brazil. Frank worked at Flona de Ipanema radio-tracking a range of predators: jaguarundis, crab-eating fox and tayra. In the Pantanal, Frank worked with Ricardo Boulhosa on jaguars and other mammals. Jackie Bratten completed an internship working with Diane Lill at the Center for Plant Conservation. Jackie participated in a project to produce a publication on the rare and endangered plants in the United States. The book will contain interesting and compelling stories behind the conservation of a selected plant for each state.


Costa Rica expedition

Sixteen Development Board members and friends of the ICTE participated in the eight-day tour of Costa Rica with guides John Blake, Bette Loiselle and Patrick Osborne. The tour included visits to La Selva Biological Station and its rain forest reserve, Monteverde cloud forest and a search for the elusive quetzal, Poas volcano and a final dinner in the splendid setting of Tara overlooking the city of San José. Guests at this dinner included: Drs. David and Deborah Clark (ICTE-Associates), Dr. Claudia Charpentier, Vice-President, Organization for Tropical Studies, Dr. Jorge Jiminez, Associate Director (Costa Rica Operations), Organization for Tropical Studies, Dr. Pedro Leon, President, Organization for Tropical Studies, Mitzi Leon, Dr. Yolanda Matamoros, Director, Simon Bolivar Zoo and Dr. Jose Maria Rodrigues, Environmental Policy Coordinator, Organization for Tropical Studies. We were delighted to be accompanied on this trip by Bill Aitken, Michael and Julie Cowhey, Burt and Ilene Follman, Mary and Jim Gillespie, Jim and Dudley Grove, George Grove, Ken and Nancy Kranzberg, David and Janet Shores, Frank and Nancy Susman.

John Denver update

Ron Bonine continues to work on behalf of the ICTE in raising awareness of the John Denver Memorial Scholarship in Tropical Ecology. Ron has linked the relevant ICTE web page to many sites relating to John Denver, his music and his environmental activities. As a result, the ICTE has received donations to the John Denver endowment from people and corporations in Germany, United Kingdom, The Netherlands as well as the United States. Ron described the activities of the ICTE and the role of our scholarship program at a memorial event held recently in Aspen, Colorado.


Franklin County was having a roadside cleanup day. Members of the Windstar Club at Broadview Elementary School, Winchester, Tennessee decided to participate and to enter the "Pride in Our Earth" poster contest. Over 30 students and 10 adults filled more than 100 large bags with litter and won prizes for the most litter collected and the best poster design. At a party to celebrate their hard work, the students voted to donate most of their prize money to the John Denver Memorial Scholarship in Tropical Ecology. We applaud these students for their hard work, generosity and, above all, their vision of what they want for their future.


Guillermo Paz y Mino has been awarded his doctorate for his dissertation: "Sibling Recognition and Social Memory in Prairie Voles, Microtus ochrogaster". Guillermo's advisor was Dr. Zuylema Tang-Martinez. The following graduates have completed the masters degree (non-thesis): Sandra Arango (Bette Loiselle), Kevin Cool (Bette Loiselle), Jay D. King (Victoria Sork), James Toshiro Morisaki (Robert Marquis). Graduate Certificates in Tropical Biology and Conservation have been awarded to Kevin Cool and Jennifer Hecker.


April 6
Jane and Whitney Harris lecture, Shoenberg Auditorium, Ridgway Center, Missouri Botanical Garden.

April 14
Gala Dinner and presentation of World Ecology Medal to Jane Goodall.

May 1
Tropical Fantasia, Plaza Frontenac.

October 22
World Ecology Day



The XVI International Botanical Congress will be held at the America's Center, St. Louis from August 1-7, 1999. The IBC is held only once every six years and scientists from around the world meet to discuss the latest research in the plant sciences. These congresses are particularly notable because they bring together such a diversity of plant scientists from the fields of botany, mycology, plant ecology, horticulture, and agriculture. President of the Organizing Committee is Dr. Peter Raven and Vice-Presidents are Drs. John McNeill and José Sarukhán. The Secretary General is Dr. Peter Hoch. The congress is being organized by the Missouri Botanical Garden.


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;

Dr. Stan Braude Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Biology Department and the International Center for Tropical Ecology will be offering a new field course in the Negev Desert in Israel in 1999. "The Behavioral Ecology of Desert Wildlife" will be an intensive two and a half week field course. It will be co-taught with Amotz Zahavi of Tel Aviv University. The course runs from June 29 to July 14. Contact Stan at for further details.

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. For further information on the ICTE and its activities you can visit our web page: