How to tell if your country’s coronavirus statistics are invalid

Everyone in Ecuador is closely watching the curve of the number of Ecuadorian coronavirus cases over time. As dead bodies begin to accumulate in the streets of Ecuador’s largest city, Guayaquil (not all due to coronavirus, to be sure), all of us anxiously look for signs that the curve is beginning to flatten, that the curfew, transit restrictions, and economic shutdown are having some effect. Last week the number of new cases per day finally did begin to drop from one day to the next. Were our countermeasures having some effect? Many of us, including me, thought so. Here is what the graph of new confirmed (tested) cases per day looked like as of March 30 (which is Day 18 on this graph):

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However, looking more closely, there is something odd about this graph. There is too much variability for it to be accurately describing a disease which has a long and variable incubation time. Symptoms of Covid-19 usually don’t show up for three to eight days after infection; the median waiting time until symptoms show up is five days after exposure, with most people showing symptoms after between three and eight days. People don’t get tested and aren’t registered in this graph until after they show symptoms, so the people who test positive on any given day were infected between three and eight days earlier. So the positive test counts for each day are influenced by all of the infection rates of the previous two to eight days. This makes it mathematically impossible for the graph to change much  from one day to the next, if the graph were really measuring what it is supposed to be measuring.

Let’s play with some hypothetical data to see how much the graph could vary from day to day. Let’s first look at a very extreme case: let’s say the probability  of infection doubles every day, and then suddenly one day everyone is put into complete isolation and the infection rate instantly drops to zero.  To make this graph I have to know the proportion of infected people who show symptoms after three days, the proportion who show symptoms after four days, etc.  A good guess (given that the median for covid-19 is known to be 5 days, and that in one sample of 45 infections on the same day, some people did report symptoms on Day 3 and on Day 8) is that 10% get symptoms after three days, 20% get symptoms after four days, 20% get symptoms after five days, 20% after 6 days, 20% after seven days, and 10% after eight days. (The exact values of these numbers aren’t too important for the point I am making.)

So, under these conditions, how fast can the graph of new positive test cases per day drop when the actual infection rate suddenly drops to zero? Here is the answer (the infection rate drops to zero on Day 1):

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Note that even after the infections are completely stopped from Day 1 onward, the graph continues to rise steeply for a few days as people infected earlier begin to show symptoms and get positive tests. The rise begins to slow down three days after the infections stop (Day 4 on the graph), and then it gently but steadily declines.

That was what happens when the disease is spreading exponentially until it suddenly disappears. Let’s look at the other extreme– what happens if the infection rate is holding steady until it drops to zero on Day 1? Symptoms continue to show up, and people continue to register new positive cases, for several more days after people cease getting infected. Then the curve starts to go gently down.

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In real life, of course, the infection rate could never go from a high number to zero overnight. So any real curve will be even smoother than these. Likewise the actual range of delays between infection and test result is wider than the numbers I used, and this should also make the real curve even smoother than these.

Now look again at the Ecuadorian graph at the top of this post. It shows much more dramatic drops than any of these hypothetical graphs in which the disease is completely cured overnight. The Ecuadorian graph is just not possible under any sort of natural situation.

Indeed, when I add in the data from March 31 (which is Day 19 on the graph below) to April 5, the Ecuadorian graph reveals that the apparent dip in cases on March 29 and March 30 meant absolutely nothing:

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Could this be blamed on random statistical variation from day to day? Probably not. The number of infections per day has what statisticians call a “Poisson distribution”, and its range of random variation (the “standard deviation”) is known to equal the square root of the mean value.  If we had many days with the same infection probability, the number of infections per day would almost always be within two standard deviations of the mean. The highest daily value in graph above, 456, could be expected to vary from 413 to 498. The value just two days earlier was 42 new positive cases, far beyond the expected range of random variation given the value of 456 two days later.

So what can explain the Ecuadorian graph? At first I thought that test kits might be so scarce that the number of new verified coronavirus cases per day is almost entirely dependent on the availability of test kits. So this would really be a graph of test kit availability, nothing more. However, Javier Robayo points out that the real limitation is the lack of people able to run the tests, each of which takes about six hours. The biggest dips happen on weekends, suggesting that this kind of human factor is indeed shaping the graph. Sadly, this all means that patterns on this graph can offer no guidance to Ecuador’s citizens or its decision-makers.

Further evidence for this pessimism can be found by comparing the death rate per day with the new cases per day. Daily coronavirus death totals are also not reliable in Ecuador, as the government only lists deaths confirmed by testing for the virus. For example the health ministry reports a total to date of 180 coronavirus deaths, and mentions but does not tabulate an additional 159 deaths that were “probably” coronavirus (https://www.elcomercio.com/actualidad/contagios-muertes-covid19-balance-ecuador.html accessed April 5). But just to be conservative, let’s accept the official figure of 180 deaths as of April 5. Those people must have become infected  in the preceding several weeks. The mortality of this virus is about one in a hundred or a bit less:

https://edition.cnn.com/2020/03/30/health/coronavirus-lower-death-rate/index.html

If there are 180 people dead, there must have been 180*100= 18000 infected people a week or so before April 5. But the official number of infected people  for March 30 is only about 1900 people. This suggests that there are really almost ten times more people infected than the official numbers show. And if, as seems likely, the real death toll is twice the reported rate, then the real number of infected people is about twenty times greater than the official figures show.  As of today, that would be 67000, which is more than 4000 cases per million inhabitants. This would be about twice the reported per capita infection rate of New York City.

This estimate of 34000-67000 infected depends on the death rate for Covid-19 really being 1% in Ecuador. If medical care in Ecuador were much worse than elsewhere in the world, perhaps the death rate is actually much higher here. If the death rate were 20% instead of 1%, the numbers of deaths and infections would match better. I am not sure which result is more frightening, that the rate of infection is one of the highest  reported in the world, or that the death rate is one of the highest in the world. The truth is probably somewhere in between. I don’t think any of the possibilities are good.

The President of Ecuador himself agrees with this frightening conclusion: “Sabemos que tanto en número de contagios, como de fallecimientos, los registros oficiales se quedan cortos. La realidad siempre supera el número de pruebas y la velocidad con la que se presta la atención”.

[“We know that in both the number infected, and in the number of deaths, the official counts fall short. The reality is always exceeding the number of tests and the pace of attention.”- Lenin Moreno, President of Ecuador.]

And now Banos is running low on food…..We hope the internet and electricity don’t fail.

Lou Jost, Fundacion EcoMinga

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Back to life

[Traduccion en Espanol abajo]

I apologize for my long absence on this blog, due to an overloaded schedule along with health problems. There are mountains of news to share, and I will begin catching up in the course of the next few weeks, though I imagine all readers currently have their attention focused on the coronavirus, which is still in its exponential phase in Ecuador, the US, and most other countries. Everything indicates a coming disaster.

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Spring plumage Blackburnian Warbler, Setophaga fusca, in Ecuador. Photo Roger Ahlman

Yet life goes on in the non-human world. A brilliant male Blackburnian Warbler perched above me this morning, on its way to the US, making light of our travel blockades. This fragile thing smaller than my hand will fly about 60 miles a day for more than 4000 miles (6600km) in the next month and a half, over a path that many individuals have never tried before  (the route north is slightly different from the route south), finally crossing the Gulf of Mexico (600 miles, 1000km) in a single nonstop flight, falling exhausted on the beaches of Texas by mid April, and then picking itself up off the ground and crossing most of the US, all to reach its northern conifer forest breeding grounds. Half of these birds will die on each round trip, but the northern forests will briefly be filled with the songs of the survivors, until they must start their trip anew in the opposite direction. Life goes on for them, oblivious to the human suffering below.

I wish all of our readers the best during these difficult times. Isolate yourselves, wear rubber gloves if you have to go to the grocery store, and don’t touch your face.

Lou Jost

 

Regreso a la vida

Me disculpo por mi larga ausencia en este blog, debido a un horario sobrecargado junto con problemas de salud. Hay montañas de noticias para compartir, y comenzaré a cubrir los atrasos en el curso de las próximas semanas, aunque imagino que todos los lectores actualmente tienen su atención enfocada en el coronavirus, que todavía está en su fase exponencial en Ecuador, EE.UU. y la mayoría de los otros países. Todo indica un desastre inminente.

IMG 01 – Plumaje de primavera de Reinita pechinaranja (Blackburnian Warbler, Setophaga fusca) en Ecuador. Fotografía: Roger Ahlman

Sin embargo, la vida sigue en el mundo no humano. Un macho brillante de Reinita pechinaranja se perchó sobre mí esta mañana, en su camino a los EE.UU., haciendo luz de nuestros bloqueos de viaje. Esta frágil criatura más pequeña que mi mano volará cerca de 60 millas por día durante más de 4000 millas (6600 km) en el próximo mes y medio, sobre un camino que muchos individuos no han intentado antes (la ruta hacia el norte es ligeramente diferente de la ruta hacia el sur), finalmente cruzando el Golfo de México (600 millas, 1000 km) en un solo vuelo sin escalas, cayendo exhausto en las playas de Texas a mediados de abril, y después levantándose del suelo y cruzando la mayor parte de los EE.UU., con el fin de llegar a sus zonas de reproducción en los bosques de coníferas del norte. La mitad de estas aves morirán en cada viaje de ida y vuelta, pero los bosques del norte se llenarán en poco tiempo con las canciones de los sobrevivientes, hasta que empiecen su viaje de nuevo, en la dirección opuesta. La vida continúa para ellos, ajena al sufrimiento humano que se encuentra debajo.
Deseo lo mejor para todos nuestros lectores durante estos tiempos difíciles. Aíslense, usen guantes de goma si tienen que ir a la tienda de comestibles y no se toquen la cara.
Lou Jost
[Traduccion por Salome Solorzano Flores]

Exploring a new preserve

[Vea abajo la traduccion en espanol]

In 2017 we received a donation from Noah Britton, member of the comedy troupe “Aspergers are us”, to make a new reserve which he asked us to name the “Noah Britton Flavored Preserves”. We’re still working on the bureaucracy to approve the purchase– it adjoins the Llanganates National Park  whose boundary are being updated, and the purchase can’t be finalized until they are–but the money has changed hands and it is effectively ours. Our guards recently built a path to the reserve, starting from our nearby Rio Zunac Reserve. They had a great time visiting wild forests and streams that they had never seen before. Thank you Noah, for helping keep this place wild.

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The Cordillera Abitgua cloud forest at these elevations is distinctive for the  large number of giant palm trees.  Click to enlarge. Photo: Recalde/EcoMinga

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Our crew having fun exploring the forest. Click to enlarge. Photo: Recalde/EcoMinga.

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A tributary of the Rio Zunac goes along this property. Click to enlarge. Photo: Recalde/EcoMinga.

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Through uncharted territory. Photo: Recalde/EcoMinga.

Lou Jost, Fundacion EcoMinga

Explorando una nueva reserva
Traducción: Salomé Solórzano Flores
 
En 2017 recibimos una donación de Noah Britton, miembro de una compañía de comedia “Asperger’s are us”, para hacer una nueva reserva la cual nos pidió nombrar “Noah Britton Flavored Preserves”. Aún estamos trabajando en la burocracia para aprobar la compra – colinda con el Parque Nacional Llanganates, cuyos límites se están actualizando, por lo que la compra no se puede finalizar hasta que estén listos – pero el dinero ha cambiado de manos y efectivamente es nuestro. Nuestros guardabosques  recientemente construyeron un sendero a la reserva, empezando desde nuestra cercana Reserva Río Zuñac. Ellos tuvieron un gran momento visitando los bosques y ríos que no han visto nunca antes. Gracias Noah, por ayudarnos a mantener este lugar salvaje
**IMG01** – El Bosque Nublado de la Cordillera Abitagua en estas altitudes es distintivo por el gran número de palmas gigantes. Cick para agrandar.  Fotografía:  Recalde/EcoMinga
**IMG 02** – Nuestro equipo diviertiéndose mientras explora el bosque. Click para agrandar. Fotografía: Recalde/EcoMinga.
**IMG 03** – Un afluente del Rio Zunac corre a lo largo de la propiedad. Click para agrandar. Fotografía: Recalde/EcoMinga.
**IMG 04** – A través de territorio desconocido. Fotografía: Recalde/EcoMinga.
Lou Jost, Fundación EcoMinga.

Dr Carl Luer, world’s most productive orchid taxonomist and my orchid mentor, died yesterday at age 97

Carl

Carl at work. Photo courtesy Lorena Endara.

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Sobralia luerorum. The Latin ending “-orum” is the genitive (possesive) plural ending, indicating that this orchid is named for Carl Luer and his devoted wife, Jane. Click to enlarge. Photo: Lou Jost

 

[Ver traduccion en espanol abajo]

Carl Luer, assisted by his wife Jane, “the most prolific orchid research couple the world has ever known” (Dalstrom 2017), has described more orchid species than any other modern scientist, more than 3000 species, a record that can never be matched again. He would describe and draw up to three new species each day, based mostly on specimens found in the world’s herbariums or collected personally by him and Jane and their orchid friends. The pencil drawings would then be inked by Stig Dalstrom and sent to the Missouri Botanical Gardens press, which would publish them in a steady stream of green paperback books officially titled “Icones Pleurothallidinarum”, known to many in the field as the “Green Books”.

Carl was a surgeon by profession, retiring in 1975 or 1976. By that time he had already become very interested in orchids, publishing two books on North American orchids: The Native Orchids of the United States and Canada Excluding Florida and The Native Orchids of Florida.  These instantly became classics; they are still some of the most authoritative treatments of the US and Canadian orchid flora (and I loved my copy back when I was growing up).

When Carl retired, his passion for orchids was completely unleashed. He asked one of the most famous orchid scientists of the time, Calaway Dodson (who later became a founding board member of EcoMinga) what would be a good group of orchids to work on. Cal told him that the pleurothallid subtribe of orchids had been overlooked in the past because they are usually small and not very showy, but that this group appeared to have a huge amount of hidden diversity if only someone would pay attention to it. This sounded great to Carl, who set out to master the known pleurothallid orchids and discover the ones that were not yet known.

It immediately became clear to him that some of the previously described genera made little sense, mixing morphologically dissimilar things. For example, he noticed that the genus Masdevallia consisted of at least three very different kinds of plants, easily distinguishable by both the flower and the leaves. One of these groups, the group containing the species that was the original basis for the genus, had to keep the name Masdevallia under the international rules for plant nomenclature. Carl established new genera for the other two groups, naming them Dracula and Dryadella. Of course Carl’s genus Dracula has now become the focus of EcoMinga’s Dracula Reserve in northwestern Ecuador.

Dracula terborchi Luer & Hirtz, a member of Carl’s new genus Dracula. Click to enlarge. Photo: Lou Jost/EcoMinga.

Carl also began the long process of breaking up the artificial genus Pleurothallis into more natural groups, and began to notice that previous taxonomists had wrongly lumped many different species together, because they had not looked closely at these tiny flowers. Indeed, the standard way of preserving flowers, pressing them flat and drying them to make herbarium sheets, obscured many of their important details. Carl helped popularize the practice of preserving these flowers in alcohol, which did not affect their delicate structures (though they lost their colors). This was a major advance. As he compared his specimens in alcohol from all over the tropical Americas, it soon became clear that the previously-described species in the pleurothallid subtribe were just  the tip of the iceberg. He began one of the biggest unveilings of plant diversity anywhere in the modern world.  He quickly doubled, tripled, or quadrupled the sizes of many major genera of pleurothallid orchids, with especially huge numbers of new species in overlooked genera like Stelis and Lepanthes.

In 1996 he published the Green Book dealing with the Lepanthes of Ecuador, and this was how I got to know him. I had just started noticing the Lepanthes of the forests around my new home in Banos, Ecuador, and I was desperate for information about them. My friend Cherise Miller bet me a brownie that I could find information about them on a newfangled thing that had just come to Ecuador, the “internet”. I scoffed but went to an “internet cafe” which had computers, and did the search. I gladly bought Cherise the brownie when the search turned up Carl’s freshly-printed book. I bought the book and tried to identfy my local Lepanthes, but some of them didn’t fit. I was puzzled and wrote to Carl with drawings, photos, and paintings, and he immediately and enthusiastically answered my questions and encouraged me. He agreed that some were new, and he began to draw and describe and publish them as fast as I could discover them. This went on for more than a decade. His encouragement and kindness was limitless, not just to me but to nearly everyone in the field. He even sent me his first microscope, hand-carried to Ecuador by Stig Dalstrom, to help me make better drawings.

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My heavily-used first book from Carl. This book went everywhere with me, and it shows.

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Inside the book. Click to enlarge.

Beside the genus Dracula, Carl had established many other new genera as he continued to re-organize the pleurothallid tribe. In 1991 he had noticed that there was a small subset of species in the genus Platystele which had larger flowers with a distinctive morphology, including a deep pit in the lip (the enlarged central petal of an orchid). He created the new genus Teagueia, named after his friend and collecting partner Walter Teague, for these five species, and added a sixth species from an overlooked old museum specimen.\

2019-04-20-23.22.55 ZS ret Stitchedv2

Teagueia zeus Luer, a member of Carl’s genus Teagueia. Click to enlarge. Photo: Lou Jost/Ecominga

One day in the year 2000, on a long hard hike to a high mountain which EcoMinga now owns, I stumbled across four mysterious orchid species that I could not recognize even to genus, though they were clearly pleurothallids. When I got down from the mountain I eagerly searched the Green Books for these species, but could not find them. Of course I turned to Carl for help. He informed me that all four were new species in his genus Teagueia! He immediately described them as Teagueia alyssana, T. sanchezii, T. jostii, and T. cymbisepala. These were the first of about 30 new species of Teagueia my students and I eventually discovered in the area, an unprecedented local evolutionary radiation that was part of the impetus for the creation of EcoMinga, which now protects the most important Teagueia populations.

T_alyssana

Teagueia alyssana Luer & Jost, drawing by Carl Luer.

Carl’s kind and helpful interactions with me were not at all unusual; he nurtured and inspired a vast crew of orchid scientists around the world over the four decades since his “retirement”. He will live on long after this sad day, in his mountain of Green Books and in his army of new taxonomists, and in the hearts of the people who were lucky enough to have known him.

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Some of my much-used volumes of  Carl’s “Green Books”.

Lou Jost, Fundacion EcoMinga

See also the special volume of the journal Lankesteriana dedicated to Carl on his 95th birthday: Lankesteriana17(2)
 

Dr Carl Luer, el taxónomo de orquídeas más productivo del mundo y mi mentor de orquídeas, murió ayer a los 97 años.
Traducción: Salomé Solórzano Flores
**IMG 01** – Carl en el trabajo. Foto cortesía de Lorena Endara.
**IMG 02** – Sobralia luerorum. El final en latín “-orum” es la terminación plurar genitiva (posesivo), indicando que esta orquídea es nombrada por Car Luer y su devota esposa, Jane. Click para agrandar. Fotografía: Lou Jost.
Carl Luer, con ayuda de su esposa Jane, “la pareja de investigación de orquídeas más prolífica que el mundo haya conocido” (Dalstrom 2017), ha descrito más especies de orquídeas que cualquier otro científico moderno, más de 3000 especies, un record que nunca podrá ser alcanzado de nuevo. Él describiría y dibujaría hasta tres nuevas especies cada día, basándose principalmente en especímenes encontrados en los herbarios del mundo o colectados personalmente por él y Jane, y sus amigos orquideólogos. Los dibujos a lápiz serían entintados por Stig Dalstrom y enviados a la prensa del Jardín Botánico de Missouri, los cuales serían publicados en un flujo constante de libros de bolsillo verdes titulados oficialmente “Icones Pleurothallidinarum”, conocidos para muchos en el campo como los “Green Books”.
Carl fue cirujano de profesión, y se retiró en 1975 o 1976. Por ese tiempo ya se había interesado mucho en las orquídeas, publicando dos libros sobre las orquídeas norteamericanas: “The Native Orchids of the United States and Canada Excluding Florida” y “The Native Orchids of Florida“. Instanteaneamente estos libros se volvieron clásicos; todavía son algunos de los tratados más confiables de la flora de orquídeas de EEUU y Canadá (y yo amé mi copia cuando estaba creciendo).
Cuando Carl se retiró, su pasión por las orquídeas fue totalmente desatada. Él preguntó a uno de los más famosos científicos de orquídeas de ese tiempo, Calaway Dodson (quien después se convirtío en un miembro fundador de EcoMinga), cuál sería un buen grupo de orquídeas en las cuales trabajar. Cal le dijo que la subtribu Pleurothallidinae de orquídeas se había pasado por alto en el pasado porque usualmente son pequeñas y no muy vistosas, pero que este grupo parecía tener una gran diversidad escondida si solo alguien le prestaba atención. Esto sonó bien para Carl, que se propuso dominar las orquídeas pleurotalidas conocidas y descubrir aquellas aún no conocidas.
Inmediatamente se volvió claro para él que algunos de los generos previamente descritos tenían poco sentido, mezclando morfologicamente cosas diferentes. Por ejemplo, Carl notó que el género Masdevallia consistía en al menos tres tipos muy diferentes de planta, fácilmente distinguibles tanto por sus flores como por sus hojas. Uno de estos grupos, el grupo que contenía las especies que fueron la base original para el género, había mantenido el nombre Masdevallia bajo las reglas internacionales de nomenclatura vegetal. Carl estableció un nuevo género para los otros dos grupos, nombrándolos Dracula y Dryadella. Por supuesto, el género Dracula de Carl ahora se ha convertido en el foco de la Reserva Dracula de EcoMinga en el noroeste de Ecuador.
**IMG 03** – Dracula terborchi Luer & Hirtz, un miembro de Dracula, un nuevo género de Carl. Click para agrandar. Fotografía: Lou Jost/EcoMinga.
Carl también empezó el largo proceso de fragmentar el género artificial Pleurothallis en más grupos naturales, y comenzó a notar que taxónomos anteriores habían englobado erróneamente muchas especies diferentes en este grupo, sin observar de cerca sus pequeñas flores. En efecto, la forma estándar de preservar las flores, presionandolas y secándolas para hacer hojas de herbario, ocultó muchos de sus detalles importantes. Carl ayudó a popularizar la práctica de preservar estas flores en alcohol, lo cual no afectaba sus delicadas estructuras (a pesar de perder sus colores). Este fue un gran avance. Mientras comparaba sus especímenes en alcohol por todas las Américas tropicales, pronto se se hizo evidente que las especies previamente descritas en la subtribu Pleurothallideae eran solo la punta del iceberg. Él comenzó una de las mayores revelaciones de la diversidad vegetal en cualquier parte del mundo moderno. Pronto dobló, triplicó e incluso cuadruplicó el tamaño de muchos géneros principales de orquídeas pleurotálidas, con un numero especialmente grande de nuevas especies en géneros ignorados como Stelis y Lepanthes.
En 1996 publicó el Libro Verde sobre los Lepanthes de Ecuador, y así fue como lo conocí. Yo había empezado a notar los Lepanthes de los bosques cerca de mi nuevo hogar en Baños, Ecuador, y estaba desesperado por información acerca de estos. Mi amiga Cherise Miller apostó conmigo un brownie a que podría encontrar información sobre ellos en una cosa nueva que acababa de llegar a Ecuador, el “internet”. Me burlé pero fui a un “cibercafé” que tenía computadoras e hice la búsqueda. Con mucho gusto le compré a Cherise el brownie cuando en la búsqueda apareció el libro recién impreso de Carl. Compré el libro e intenté identificar a mis Lepanthes locales, pero algunas de ellas no correspondían. Estaba perplejo y le escribí a Carl con dibujos, fotos y pinturas, y él inmediatamente y de manera entusiasta respondió a mis preguntas y me animó. Estuvo de acuerdo en que algunas eran nuevas, y empezó a dibujar, describir y publicarlas tan rápido como yo podía descubrirlas. Esto continuó por más de una década. Su aliento y amabilidad eran ilimitados, no sólo para mí, si no para casi todos en el campo. Incluso me envió su primer microscopio, traído a mano a Ecuador por Stig Dalstrom, para ayudarme a hacer mejores dibujos.
**IMG04** – Mi bien usado primer libro de Carl. Este libro fue a todos lados conmigo, como se puede observar.
**IMG 05** – Dentro del libro. Click para agrandar.
Junto al género Dracula, Carl había establecido muchos otros nuevos géneros mientras re-organizaba la subtribu Pleurothallidinae .  En 1991 había notado que había un pequeño grupo de especies en el género Platystele los cuales tenían flores más largas con una morfología distintiva, incluyendo un hoyo profundo en el labio (el pétalo central agrandado de una orquídea). Él creó el nuevo género Teagueia, nombrado así por su amigo y compañero en el campo, Walter Teague, para estas cinco especies, y agregó una sexta especie de un antiguo espécimen de museo pasado por alto.
**IMG 05** – Teagueia zeus Luer, un miembro de Teagueia , género de Carl. Click para agrandar. Fotografía: Lou Jost/Ecominga
Un día del año 2000, en una larga y dura caminata a una montaña alta, la cual ahora pertenece a EcoMinga, me tropecé con cuatro especies de orquídeas misteriosas que no pude reconocer ni siquiera a nivel de género, aunque eran claramente pleurotálidas. Cuando bajé de la montaña, busqué estas especies ansiosamente en los Libros Verdes, pero no pude encontrarlas. Por supuesto fui a Carl por ayuda. Él me informó que las cuatro eran nuevas especies de su género Teagueia! Inmediatamente las describió como Teagueia alyssanaT. sancheziiT. jostii, y T. cymbisepala. Estas fueron las primeras de cerca de 30 nuevas especies de Teagueia que mis estudiantes y yo eventualmente descubrimos en el área, una radiación evolutiva local sin precendentes que fue parte del impulso para la creación de EcoMinga, que ahora protege las poblaciones más importantes de Teagueia.
**IMG**-   Teagueia alyssana Luer & Jost, dibujos por Carl Luer.
Las interacciones amables y provechosas de Carl conmigo no eran inusuales; él nutrió e inspiró a un vasto equipo de científicos de orquídeas al rededor del mundo durante cuatro décadas desde su “retiro”. Él vivirá mucho después de este triste día, en su montaña de Libros Verdes y su ejército de nuevos taxónomos, y en los corazones de las personas que tuvieron la suerte de haberlo conocido.
 
*IMG* – Algunos de mis muy  utilizados  “Green Books” de Carl.
 
Lou Jost, Fundación EcoMinga.
 
Vean también el volumen especial del journal Lankesteriana, dedicada a Carl en su cumpleaños número 95: Lankesteriana17(2).

 

“In defense of plants” podcast

[Traduccion en espanol abajo]

I was interviewed recently by Matt Candeias, whose website “In Defense of Plants” is full of interesting posts and podcasts for botanists. You can listen to my interview here:

http://www.indefenseofplants.com/podcast/2019/10/20/ep-235-orchids-at-the-center-of-cloud-forest-conservation-in-ecuador

Matt was very well informed and asked good questions; I enjoyed the interview.I also recommend checking out some of the other articles and interviews on his site. One especially interesting article of interest to us orchid lovers is this one:

http://www.indefenseofplants.com/blog/2019/9/4/mutant-orchids-have-a-lot-to-teach-us-about-parasitic-plants

Thank you Matt for spreading the word about our work!

Lou Jost, Fundacion EcoMinga

Podcast “In defense of Plants” (En defensa de las plantas) 

Traducción: Salomé Solórzano Flores
Fui entrevistado recientemente por Matt Candeias, cuyo sitio web “In Defense of Plants” está lleno de posts y podcasts interesantes para botánicos. Puedes escuchar mi entrevista en inglés aquí:
Matt estuvo bien informado y realizó buenas preguntas; disfruté la entrevista. También recomiendo verificar algunos artículos y entrevistas en su sitio. Un artículo en inglés de especial interés para nosotros como amantes de las orquídeas, es este:

 

¡Gracias a Matt por correr la voz sobre nuestro trabajo!
Lou Jost, Fundación EcoMinga