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June 2012  •  Volume 5 Number 1

Endangered Sandillón Cactus Takes Significant Step toward Return to Cerro Pachón

Sandillón (Eriocyce aurata) seedling propagated by University of La Serena as part of LSST's environmental impact mitigation efforts. The seedling has been successfully relocated to a greenhouse, where it will continue maturing before eventual transplantation on Cerro Pachón (photo by Jeff Barr)

The first specimen of the endangered cactus species, Sandillón (Eriocyce aurata), propagated in a University of La Serena laboratory as part of LSST’s environmental mitigation program, has been relocated to the greenhouse on Cerro Pachón. The relocation is a significant milestone in LSST’s effort to mitigate the effects of site excavation on the endangered species of Chile (LSST E-News, October 2011 Volume 4 Number 3).

“The success of this initiative is possible thanks to the work of Gina Arancio and the determined support of the LSST project,” said Mario Gonzalez Kemnis, AURA Safety and Environmental Engineer.

Cultivation of a Sandillón (Eriocyce aurata) seedling by botanical specialists at the University of La Serena (photo by Mario Gonzalez Kemnis)

Led by Arancio, the University of La Serena propagation program collected 300 Sandillón seeds from Cerro Pachón prior to LSST excavation work. As one of those seedlings, the relocated specimen was cultivated in the laboratory before being moved to the greenhouse on Cerro Pachón. After reaching maturity at the greenhouse, the cactus will be transplanted to the mountain. Within the next month, an additional 50 specimens will be moved to the greenhouse on Cerro Pachón.

Article written by Robert McKercher with contributions from Mario Gonzalez Kemnis and Jeff Barr.


LSST is a public-private partnership. Funding for design and development activity comes from the National Science Foundation, private donations, grants to universities, and in-kind support at Department of Energy laboratories and other LSSTC Institutional Members:

Adler Planetarium; Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL); California Institute of Technology; Carnegie Mellon University; Chile; Cornell University; Drexel University; Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory; George Mason University; Google, Inc.; Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics; Institut de Physique Nucléaire et de Physique des Particules (IN2P3); Johns Hopkins University; Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology (KIPAC) – Stanford University; Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network, Inc.; Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL); Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL); National Optical Astronomy Observatory; National Radio Astronomy Observatory; Princeton University; Purdue University; Research Corporation for Science Advancement; Rutgers University; SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory; Space Telescope Science Institute; Texas A & M University; The Pennsylvania State University; The University of Arizona; University of California at Davis; University of California at Irvine; University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; University of Michigan; University of Pennsylvania; University of Pittsburgh; University of Washington; Vanderbilt University

LSST E-News Team:

  • Suzanne Jacoby (Editor-in-Chief)
  • Anna Spitz (Writer at Large)
  • Robert McKercher (Staff Writer)
  • Mark Newhouse (Design & Production: Web)
  • Emily Acosta (Design & Production: PDF/Print)
  • Sidney Wolff (Editorial Consultant)
  • Additional contributors as noted

LSST E-News is a free email publication of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope Project. It is for informational purposes only, and the information is subject to change without notice.

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