Research in Ecuador

Beginning in early 2014, the Orchid Recovery Program will send its first student to Ecuador to begin a research collaboration involving seed propagation of endangered Ecuadorian orchids. This work will be carried out in collaboration with Prof. Francisco Merchán in a greenhouse and laboratory at the University of Cuenca in the Andes Mountains. This collaboration is expected to cater to Illinois College students fluent in Spanish who are also skilled at sterile technique, including recovery and identification of mycorrhizal fungi, seed collection and storage, and propagation. By working with Prof. Merchán in Ecuador, students will gain an appreciation for the unusually high orchid biodiversity in that country, and the various ways that these unique species might be saved from extinction.

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