Lilisbeth was awarded a STRI short-term fellowship to study Zamia pseudoparasitica

We just got the news that Lilisbeth Rodríguez-Castro, was awarded a STRI short-term fellowship . These are highly competitive and prestigious fellowships to foster research on tropical settings, especially Panama. Lilisbeth will continue her fascinating work on the only epiphytic gymnosperm, Zamia pseudoparasitica. Her work is part of her master's thesis in the Program of Environmental Microbiology at the Universidad de Panamá.  She's looking into the functional genomics of the p...
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Fieldwork in Panama

As part of our Canada Research Chair on symbiosis of tropical plants, we have done fieldwork in Panama with Adriel Sierra Pinilla (doctoral student), Lilisbeth Rodríguez-Castro (master's student in the program of Environmental Microbiology, Universidad de Panamá) and Pedro Castillo-Caballero (a talented undergraduate at the Universidad de Panamá).  Adriel is doing research on the impact of the forest fragmentation on Amazonian epiphylls, his fieldwork was conducted (a few years ago) in the ...
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Cycads and climate change

Global warming is a climatic phenomenon of unprecedented impact in various ecosystems of the world. Its consequences, especially on polar regions, from ice melting to temperature records, is now well documented. Studying the responses to climate change in the tropics is of capital importance to predict the impacts of global warming at a global scale The mostly tropical genus Zamia is the most ecologically diverse clade within Cycadales, and thus, is an ideal candidate for global...
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Fieldwork in the Scottish Highlands

Our lab is pursuing a global study on Cladonia stellaris (and other reindeer lichens) to expand our sampling from Eastern Canada and unravel the systematics and dispersal patterns of this charismatic lichen, our national lichen. A sampling campaign has already started in Europe, beginning in the Scottish Highlands. We also collected the woolly fringe moss, Racomitrium lanuginosum, as part of the ongoing doctoral project by Dennis Escolástico-Ortiz on the population genomics and functional...
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Lichen woodlands in Québec: microbiomes, soil and fire

Our lab is continuing research in the Parc National des Grands Jardins to unravel the genomic diversity of reindeer lichens (especially Cladonia stellaris), their microbiome and the complex interactions between soil chemistry and microbial diversity.  This week, Benjamin Villeneuve, Rafael Forteza and Jérémi Larue-Grondin were collecting C. stellaris and soil as part of the project. Following the work spearheaded by our former post-doctoral researcher, Marta Alonso García (now working as CEF...
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Who’s eating the seeds of the only known epiphytic gymnosperm?

As part of our SENACYT funded grant, Claudio Monteza and Lilisbeth Rodríguez-Castro have led a project to uncover the seed dispersers of the only known epiphytic gymnosperm, the Panamanian cycad Zamia pseudoparasitica. They set  arboreal camera trapping between October 2019 and March 2020 in three sites in Central Panama, yielding an accumulated survey effort of 271 camera days. They tracked a few focal ovulate ("female") plants of the species to find out who's visiting the open cones - full...
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Co-dispersal of symbionts in the reindeer lichen Cladonia stellaris

Cladonia stellaris
Marta just published her most recent paper in collaboration with Raquel Pino Bodas, an expert on Cladonia's biology.  In this recent paper, they explored the genetic diversity in the proposed Canadian national lichen, Cladonia stellaris. They genotyped 122 individuals collected across a latitudinal gradient in Quebec. Using a population genomic approach for the main fungus, they discovered that populations in southern Quebec are not genetically different from those of northern LWs. The mycobiont...
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Is the same moss species across the Arctic?

As part of his Ph.D. project, Dennis Escolástico and collaborators did research on cryptic speciation of a northern distributed moss. Wide spatial distribution ranges spanning different continents are characteristic of spore-dispersed organisms, such as plants and lichens. Bryophyte species exhibit worldwide and disjunct distributions as evidence of their vagility, but increasing research indicates that some widely distributed taxa with homogeneous morphology may represent separate evolut...
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