IALC Peace Fellowship Report
17 July - 18 August 1996
Lisandra C. Mioni
College of Agriculture
The University of Arizona
Measurement Analysis of Sap Flow Measurements to
of Oak Species, FRuit Trees, and Herbaceous
The International Arid Lands Consortium (IALC) has funded important research
and outreach programs to provide solutions to the world-wide problems
of desertification and socioeconomic effects in the world's arid and semi-arid
In 1996, the IALC established a Peace Fellowship Program. The IALC Peace
Fellowship Program has many goals, but the main focus is to link undergraduate
students of member IALC institutions with world-renowned scholars and
scientists conducting IALC-funded research and outreach in Israel and
the United States. The hope is to establish a student-to-scholar/scientist
approach to help build a productive future and provide a people-to-people
impact, contributing to an overall bettering of environment, both natural
and political. I have the privilege to be the first student to be awarded
an IALC Peace Fellowship. I lived and worked in Israel for 31 days from
July 17 through August 18, 1996.
One of the program's requirements was to have sponsors both in the U.S.
and Israel. My U.S. sponsors were Drs. Peter Ffolliott and Gerald Gottfried
of The University of Arizona, who are both involved with research funded
by the IALC. They contacted their collaborators in Israel, Drs. Yehezkel
Cohen and Gabriel Schiller, who agreed to act as my Israeli sponsors.
Drs. Cohen and Schiller work at the Volcani Center, Institute of Soils
and Water, Agricultural Research Organization in Bet Dagan, Israel. I
was able to work closely with both of them, not only at the Volcani Center,
but at other sites where research and data collection were taking place.
I went to Israel to work on research related to estimating transpiration
rates of desert oak tree species to measuring sap flow measurements with
the heat-pulse method. I learned of the heat-pulse method while working
closely with Dr. Cohen and his assistants. This method uses a heat-pulse
tool to estimate the water being translocated in the sap or phloem of
a plant species to estimate how much water is being used and transpired.
From this information, an estimate of how much water is being used by
the plants can be made. I traveled to a northern town in Israel where
I was able to work and collect data on desert oak trees. The desert oak
trees are similar to a stand of oak trees in southern Arizona where the
same technique using the heat-pulse method will be applied. I was able
to work with corn and also mesquite trees to become more familiar with
the heat-pulse method. I then learned how to collect different types of
data and how to interpret and show results. I also learned how to use
many data-collection instruments and computer programs to assist in interpreting
the data. While working with Dr. Cohen, I met many people who worked at
the Volcani Center. I made friends with people from China, Chile, and
Uruguay, and I had the opportunity to speak Spanish with some of my new
friends from South America. Working on research in another country was
a whole new experience for me. My experience in Israel has now made me
very excited about the possibilities of working in an international setting
and on research in the future.
While in Israel I was able to see the reforestation program being implemented
by the Jewish National Fund. It was very apparent that this has had an
amazing effect on the country. Some areas that may have appeared as deserts
in the past are now green, shady oases.
One of the highlights of my trip was to be able to visit Jordan. I had
met Dr. Mohammed Shahbaz, Director, The Higher Council for Science &
Technology, Jordan Badia Research and Development Programme, when he visited
the Office of Arid Lands Studies at The University of Arizona during the
spring of 1996. Dr. Shahbaz extended an invitation to me to visit the
Badia Research Facility when I was in Israel, so I accepted the invitation.
I was able to travel to the far eastern desert region of Jordan and met
scientists working there. Among those scientists was a young woman with
whom I found a lot in common. We have since become friends and in the
future may work collectively.
My lodging was at the Faculty of Agriculture, at the Hebrew University
in Rehovot. The accommodations were very nice, and I was able to meet
and make friends with many students and scientists from all over the world,
who were also staying on campus. Some of my new friends are from such
countries as Turkey, Mozambique, the Netherlands, and South Africa. I
found the city of Rehovot to be very beautiful and tranquil, and I really
enjoyed feeling secure enough to take walks downtown after dark.
My Israeli sponsors were very hospitable. Dr. Cohen invited me to his
home and I spent the day with him and his family. We listened to music,
watched TV, went swimming, and of course ate. I also had the
opportunity to have dinner with a few scientists and their families. I
learned a lot about Israeli customs and traditions and found that there
are many things that we have in common.
I met and worked with scientists and professors from all over the world,
and I learned from each encounter. I also had the opportunity to travel
and do some sight-seeing on my own. I visited Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Bethlehem,
the Dead Sea, Masada, the Sea of Galilee, Eilat, Petra, and both the Mediterranean
Sea and the Red Sea.
Some of my goals while in Israel were to learn how to collect and interpret
data, work independently, learn to work and live in an environment different
than my own, and return to the U.S. to share my experiences with others,
especially future Peace Fellowship students. I was able to fulfill all
of these goals and many more. I plan on graduating in Plant Science from
The University of Arizona in the next year and go on to serve in the U.S.
Peace Corps, and ultimately work for an international food agency. One
of the main things that I got from my Peace Fellowship experience is that
I now know that my opportunities in the future are limitless. The wonderful
experience of being a Peace Fellow for the IALC has better prepared me
for my future goals and work ahead. I have learned how to work in an international
setting with scientists from around the world, how to collect and interpret
data, work with instruments and tools that I was previously unfamiliar
with, and have become very aware of the great importance of working collectively
on solutions for global problems. Because of this amazing opportunity
the International Arid Lands Consortium has provided for me, I know that
I can now better serve in the Peace Corps and look forward to all of my