Human disturbed area closed to a tropical forest in Gamboa (Panama)
Currently, we are working in a challenging project aimed to examine how human-altered tropical landscapes impact plant-pollinator network interactions, pollinator movement patterns and pollen-mediated gene flow for tropical trees. We are combining the use of field work, microscopy, molecular and GIS tools and we expect to provide a broadly integrated approach to the study of reproduction, gene flow and land use impacts on native flora and fauna of tropical ecosystems.
We are working along the Panama Canal, in and around Parque Nacional Soberanía. We are examining the composition of native bee communities in abandoned pasture, secondary forests, and older growth forests. We will be connecting this survey with pollen-mediated gene flow studies that we are currently conducting on the understory tree, Miconia affinis.
My doctoral research was focused on sexually polymorphic species. During this period, I had the supervision of two great scientists such as Prof. Carlos Herrera and Dr. Conchita Alonso. Specifically, I proposed at my PhD that margins of distributions of gynodioecious plants can constitute natural regions where we can expect changes in pollinator and herbivore communities which in turn can lead to geographic variation in the gender divergence of floral and vegetative traits. I used as a study system an old friend of my former lab, the gynodioecious shrub Daphne laureola.