Measuring Photosynthesis in Haiti

Zanmi Kafe (Partners in Coffee) interns Ben McKenzie (Ecology & Biodiversity '17) and Pierre Wakenfort practice using the Licor 6400 to measure photosynthesis in a farmer's field of corn and beans.  These sun-loving annual plants capture carbon at a rate of 20 umol/m2/sec in full sun!  The sophisticated 40-lb instrument was transported on the back of a donkey during the 2-hour mountainous hike to Bois Jolie in Hait's Central Plateau.  The objective of this study is to compare rates of photosynthesis among one year-old coffee seedlings to determine the impact of varying light levels and rust infection on the growth of this understory tree crop. This study is one of several being conducted in collaboration with Partners in Agriculture (a sister organization of Paul Farmer's Partners in Health) by eight Sewanee interns and seven Haitian interns and led by Professors Deborah McGrath and Pradip Malde  [photo by Pradip Malde].