I investigated the phylogenetic and biogeographic relationships within the subtribe Espeletiinae Cuatrec. (Compositae). My goals were: 1) to conduct a thorough revision of the nomenclature for all the species of the subtribe; 2) to built an interactive digital identification key (available online at http://espeletia.org/Espeletia/Key.html); 3) to reconstruct the phylogenetic relationships for the subtribe; and 4) to estimate the impacts of climate change of the future distribution of these species.
For the reconstruction of the phylogenetic relationships I used multiple molecular markers. Lab work was extremely difficult because of the low interspecific variation in the sequences, but after screening several markers I was able to obtain phylogenetic signal (with sequence data (2,954 bp): nrDNA (ITS and ETS) and cpDNA (rpl16); and fragment data (1,665 bins): 28 primer combinations of AFLPs). Phylogenies reconstructed suggested a strong influence of the geography shaping the evolution of the group. This work received the George R. Cooley Award for the best contributed paper in Plant Systematics in the Botany 2012 meeting. The manuscript for publication is being prepared at the moment. Please wait! It is going to come out soon!!!
For estimating the impacts of climate change I modeled the habitat suitability for 133 species of Espeletiinae under various scenarios of climate change. My results suggest that by 2080 habitat contraction will be the fate of 61% of the species, with an extinction rate of 31–48.4% (equivalent to 50–78 species). Two hotspots with high frequency of predicted extinctions were also identified. Components of this work have been awarded multiple times (the most recent time at the 2013 International Biogeography Meeting, in Miami), and a manuscript is under review.