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 BDFFP. One of his research interests is, also, the metagenomics and metabolomics of tropical cycads.
Lilisbeth is continuing her exciting work on the only epiphytic gymnosperm, Zamia pseudoparasitica. Her thesis deals with functional diversity of the cycad’s phyllosphere. Her work is quite exciting and demanding (some plants grow at 10-20 m. up in the canopy !!!!).
We also were collecting also hornwort samples (JC’s old passion) for Christelle Fraïsse Ríos. She’s doing exciting work on gene function in haploid and diploid phases and sex chromosomes !
As part of the trip, JCVA presented a conference at the University of Panama on continuing phylogenomic work on bryophytes, as part of the Goflag project.
We are looking forward to receiving applications for students interested in systematics, population genomics and microbiomes of bryophytes, lichens and cycads !