October 2020 – Lou Jost (online presentation)

Lou JostLou JostThe speaker for our joint October 6th Zoom meeting will be Lou Jost, Director of EcoMinga Foundation, and recipient of a conservation grant from the San Diego County Orchid Society. The title of his presentation is "Discovering, documenting, and protecting hotspots of orchid endemism in Ecuador---the 2020 legacy of a 2000-2001 SDCOS grant"

Lou is an internationally renowned expert in molecular phylogenices, who has made significant contributions to the protection of orchids and orchid habitat in the New World Tropics. Lou will tell the story of discovering new orchid species, learning to understand their local distribution patterns, and then starting a foundation in 2006 to protect the areas where these species grow. Along the way Lou will talk a bit about the pace of orchid evolution and the practical difficulties of maintaining orchid reserves in Latin America. The helping hand of the SDCOS and its members has been there for all of this since the beginning.

Lou is a physicist and mathematician turned biologist, though he had been growing orchids since he was a little kid. Lou worked as a jungle guide in Costa Rica, a birding guide in Ecuador, and a wildlife artist. In 1994, he moved permanently to Ecuador and began to discover many new species of orchids. Lou and his colleagues then founded the EcoMinga Foundation, to purchase and protect the forests where he had discovered significant concentrations of new, locally endemic orchid species. Lou is now the Director of the Foundation that currently owns twelve reserves covering 20,000 acres. Lou also works on the mathematics of biodiversity and population genetics. His publications in those fields have been cited by other scientific publications more than ten thousand times.

For those members who want to learn more about the area of Ecuador and the foundation, the August 2020 issue of AOS Orchids magazine (pp. 628-635) has an entertaining article on the area of Ecuador about which Lou will be speaking. Meeting attendees also may want to look at the website and blog.

Also note that Lou will be participating in the Orchid Digest International Speakers Day on October 31 along with several other interesting speakers, including Alek Zaslawski of AWZ Orchids in Brazil who spoke to our society on Cattleya violacea a few years ago . 

For more information on signing up and attending this virtual meeting, please see the full page ad on page 6. Interested  individuals may sign up on the Orchid Digest website .

Tue, 10/06/2020 - 7:30pm - 9:30pm