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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