I am interested in studying rapid radiations of tropical plants, integrating various disciplines such as taxonomy, systematics, macroevolution, ecology, and biogeography. I am also intrigued by how climate change is impacting these plants and how we can contribute from science to their 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.
- 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 investigatin 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.