Current time:0:00Total duration:1:58
0 energy points
Video transcript
my name is Frank Almeida senior curator botany at the California Academy of Sciences South America was once an island sort of like Australia is today and about three million years ago it rafted north and connected with the mezzo region via the Panama Canal area it has a big mountainous spine that runs through the center from central Panama all the way up to Mexico what you have is things that have migrated and evolved on the mountain peaks and then things in the lowlands or actually like corridors so those have been sort of the passageways for species coming from the north and those coming from the south so that makes it extremely interesting it's not just been there as an isolated landmass that organisms have migrated to but its its convergence that area today when you look at just numbers of plant species it has about 17,000 plant species and about twenty percent of those occur only in that region I study a particular family of plants called princess flowers there are very large family I've been interested in why the family is so large some of these are very very local they occur on just a single mountaintop or a single mountain slope many of them are very much endangered Mesoamerica supremely qualifies is one of those hot spots because it's been estimated that approximately eighty percent of natural vegetation has been either destroyed or highly modified over the past several decades I think we have an obligation now to go to these countries and to work with scientists there to collaborate with them and to also do teaching and workshops on the ground in these countries so that local people students in training people interested in conservation even government officials understand the value of their natural resources and why it's important to preserve them