Our journey this time was bit further. I was not travelling to a natural site or a forest. With Planta!’s support, I was able to assist the XIV Workshop on Conservation Genetics in the city of Natal, Brazil. Every year this event is organized by the Network of Genetics for Conservation. The main goal of the workshop is to provide Latin American students with the skills to apply genetics to conservation. I presented the theme that centers my master degree research: the genetic variability of natural populations of
Project: Planta!’s Capacity Building program: supporting the conservation of threatened trees.
Phyllanthus orbicularis is an exclusive Cuban shrub. It is very abundant in thickets, a type of vegetation that grows on a soil poor in nutrients. This soil, however, manage to support a unique and very interesting flora, one impossible to see anywhere else. The leaves of Phyllanthus orbicularis are very small but its pink flowers are enough to claim all the attention. This was the species I focused on during my undergraduate studies, specifically on its morphological variation. Since the plant does not always look the same, we want to know if all the known populations of the species are in fact a single species. Genetics is the way to solve this puzzle.