20 | 04 | 2018

Mauricio Diazgranados, PhD

Research Leader – Diversity & Livelihoods Diazgranados2squared

Natural Capital and Plant Health department
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
Wellcome Trust Millennium Building, Wakehurst Place
Ardingly, West Sussex, RH17 6TN, UK
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Off. Tel: +44 (0) 1444 894 172




I am interested in contributing to the study, sustainable use and conservation of plant diversity, particularly on tropical ecosystems, integrating various disciplines such as taxonomy, systematics, macroevolution, ecology, biogeography, and conservation biology. I am also intrigued by how climate change is impacting the biodiversity and how we can contribute from science to its conservation.

I have particular interest in the páramos, a widespread ecosystem in the high elevations of the northern Andes of South America, considered the fastest evolving biodiversity hotspot. As a critical ecosystem threatened by rising global temperatures and changes in rainfall patterns, páramos are an ideal study system for understanding not just rapid radiations but also the impacts of climate change.

  • Livelihoods: I am currently investigating the uses of plants and fungi worldwide, and how they relate to livelihoods of human communities.
  • Taxonomy: I am a specialist in Heliantheae s.l. (Compositae), and in particular in the subtribe Espeletiinae Cuatrec. (a.k.a. frailejones).
  • Systematics: I have worked or have ongoing projects on: Lythraceae (Ammannia, Hionanthera, Nesaea, and Rotala); Compositae (several groups, such as Espeletiinae, Gochnatia, Werneria s.l., and the Chiliotrichum group); Onagraceae (Ludwigia); Lamiaceae (Sideritis); and Fusarium, with emphasis on the mitochondrial genomes.
  • Macroevolution: I want to understand how speciation processes occur, and what are the main mechanisms. I am starting investigating hybridization as a major force of evolution in Compositae of the Neotropics.
  • Ecology: What are the main diversity patterns in the Neotropics? Are deterministic theories (e.g. directional turnover along gradients) more valid than more stochastic theories (e.g. non-directional variation)? I am investigating these patterns in the Guiana Shield.   
  • Biogeography: I am working on the biogeographic relationships of the Compositae of the Andes (from northern Venezuela to Patagonia, as well as the Compositae in Colombia and South Africa. In addition, I am investigating the biogeographic relationships of the flora of the Guiana Shield.
  • Climate Change: Using ecological niche modeling and multiple climate scenarios, I am estimating future geographic distributions for several groups. 
  • History of Science: Since 2005 I have been curating the Cuatrecasas' archives, held at the National Herbarium of the Smithsonian Institution

These are some of my codes and tips you might find useful:  GREP formulas  |  Dendropy.  Coming soon: R Codes  |  PAUP codes  |  Nexus for MrBayes  |  Garli codes  |  Python codes for GIS. 

Postdoctoral researcher | Botany | National Museum of Natural History | Smithsonian Institution
PO Box 37012, Washington DC 20013 | Phone: (202)633-0951 | Email: espeletias@gmail.com
Useful links
Interactive Digital Key for Espeletiinae

Access to the key HERE

key 160x112


Gallery of Espeletiinae

With 5000 pics, this is the World's largest collection of photographs of Espeletiinae (a.k.a. frailejones). Check it out HERE!


Recent recommended papers

Read this paper by Madriñán et al. (2013): Páramo is the world's fastest evolving and coolest biodiversity hotspot.

My latest publication

This is my latest paper (Diazgranados & Morillo, 2013): A new species of Coespeletia (Asteraceae, Millerieae) from Venezuela. Check it out!

Latest organized event

The first Symposium of Biogeography of Neotropical Plants in Colombia was a total success! (Diazgranados & Funk, 2013)