Saturday, 27 February 2021

In the Larval Stage - Research Stream

Hello all,

I wanted to update you on the work I have been up to with my artist scholarship programme with Creature Conserve - who work to bring artists and scientists together in an effort of conservation. The work is centred around the Mexican Axolotl, the mysterious and magical amphibian that stays in its larval stage, and has the capability to regrow limbs, as well as it's embryonic cells curing some forms of human cancer. Important scientifically, and culturally here in CDMX, the axolotl is on the brink of extinction with only 34 left per square km in its endemic wetland ecosystem, Xochimilco. Although the research has been a little heavy - delving into the world of conservation biology and the socio-economic factors that affect and exist in and around the axolotl's habitat - there is hope within one on-going project occurring at Xochimilco. Scientists from UNAM university are working collaboratively with local people in a pioneering bottom-up conservation project. By creating 'Chinampa-refuges', the scientists are working with local farmers to promote traditional 'MILPA' (multi crop - squash, corn and beans), ways of farming, that doesn't use pesticides, whilst creating smaller areas of refuge for the axolotls. They use water plants as filter to keep the introduced predatory fish out of these refuges, as well as providing cleaner water for the farmers crop irrigation. I hope to visit one of the projects soon. But in the meantime, we visited as tourists. Here are my boyfriend's lovely documentary style photos of the trip. If you're interested in the project please see my new research stream blog at In the Larval Stage.

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