Dr. Mooney entered the University of California at Berkley as a political science major, but was forced to halt his studies
for economic reasons and accepted a job on a freighter traveling down the west coast of the Americas. While transiting the
Panama Canal, he read in a magazine about being a collector for the United States Department of Agriculture's Plant Exploration
unit, which lead to a major change in his career path. Dr. Mooney, who had taken a strong interest in plants through his activities
in the mountains of California, was extremely attracted to an occupation in which he could both study plants and go on adventurous
travels. So he transferred to the University of California's Santa Barbara campus, which had a plant ecology program.
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