Bonafide Botanic Bryophytes
Recently, the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) fellow Dr. Juan Carlos Villarreal, from Panama, was appointed as a research associate at the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh (RGBE), Scotland. Juan has been collaborating with RGBE scientists for several years on the subject of bryophytes, in which he specializes. Bryophytes are small plants that include mosses, liverworts, and hornworts.
In 2015 Juan was awarded a Smithsonian Tupper Fellowship, with which he is researching the relationship between nitrogen-fixing cyanobacteria and plants on a genomic scale. Bryophytes use cyanobacteria to obtain nitrogen. His research could help advance the creation of genetic tools which would reduce the demand for artificial fertilizer.