Projects

Currently …

Gymnosperm phylogeny: as a postdoc in the Genealogy of Flagellate plants project I am discovering fascinating aspects of land plants with no flowers (bryophytes, ferns and gymnosperms). I am in charge of generating phenotypic data for groups of flagellate plants using NLP technology.

I participated in the Next Generation Phenomics project, I contributed to the Natural Language portion of the project, supporting the development of pipelines that extract phenotypic traits from taxonomic descriptions.  We are using the technology developed by this project to extract traits for flagellate plants.

 Past and some present…

Evolutionary history of Scaphosepalum I work with a small lineage of pleurothallid orchids, which is an excellent  system to explore patterns of speciation as many species live in sympatry. Moreover the strange flowers of Scaphosepalum orchids display interesting morphological features that most likely offer us clues into their evolutionary history.

Endemic orchids of Ecuador:  Through this project I explored the different patterns of orchid endemism.  In Ecuador almost 25% of the species of orchids are endemic and occur in very small areas, therefore their populations can easily disspapear. Through this work I explored  aspects relevant to the conservation status of Ecuador’s endemic orchids.

Monographic treatments of Stelis of Ecuador and Acronias: I enjoyed greatly working with the pleurothallid orchid Guru Dr. Carlyle Luer.  I helped him monograph two very large genera, and got alpha-taxonomic training that has been one of the most important tools I have in my career.

Rapid Assessment Project of the Paramos of Ecuador: High elevation ecosystems are floristically fascinating and from many regions, they are the source of fresh water.  These ecosystems are under a lot of pressure, as the agricultural frontier expands, and the need for fresh water increases, both factors that influence the diversity.  Through this project my colleagues and I documented the composition of different highlands subject to different land uses and human pressure.

Pollination of Dracula orchids: The pollination mechanism employed by this fascinating group of orchids represents one of the most intriguing mysteries to orchid science. I studied the pollination of several species of Dracula orchids endemic to northwestern Ecuador.