Principal Investigator

Dr. Santiago Ramírez Barahona

I am a plant biologist from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), specially interested in the ecological, geographical and historical factors that influence species and gene diversities at different spatial scales. I’ve spent my career studying the climatic history of cloud forest species in the northern Neotropics, focusing on the demographic history and phylogeography of cloud forests, particularly plants. I’ve also been particularly interested in studying the macroevolutionary and biogeographic dynamics of vascular plants on a global scale.

You can also find me at ResearchGate

Current Students

– MSc Gabriel Merino Díaz (PhD, Posgrado en Ciencias Biológicas, UNAM) (external advisor)


‘Genetic, physiological and morphological variation in scaly tree ferns (Cyatheaceae) along altitudinal gradients’.

Gabriel’s doctorate focuses on documenting altitudinal patterns of allelic turn over and their association with morphological and anatomical variation among species of tree ferns. So far, Gabriel has documented interesting patterns of morphological, anatomical and genetic variation in five species of tree ferns along a transect covering more than 1,200 meters in altitude.


– Jessica E. Hernández Tapia (Masters, Posgrado en Ciencias Biológicas, UNAM)

‘Phenological and morphological variation in tree ferns (Cyatheaceae) along environmental gradients’.

Jessicas’s masters project will focus on exploring phenological patterns (i.e., the timing of leaf production and senescence, spore maturation and release) in species of tree ferns across an altitudinal gradient. The project is planned to start January 2020.


– Rosa O. González Oliva (Masters, Posgrado en Ciencias Biológicas, UNAM) (proposal stage)

‘Influence of environmental gradients on spore germination and gametophyte development in two tree ferns of Cyathea (Cyatheaceae)’.

Rosa’s masters proposal is set on exploring the timing of spore germination and gametophyte maturation in two species of tree ferns across an altitudinal gradient. The project is planned to start August 2020.


– Nubia L. Cuevas González (Undergraduate, Facultad de Ciencias, UNAM) (co-advisor with Dr. Patricia Vélez)

‘Tree fern–fungi association along environmental gradients’.

Nubia’s undergraduate project will focus on exploring the composition of the soil community of fungi (and bacteria) associated with different tree fern species. The project is planned to start September 2020.


– Pablo Barber Córdova (Undergraduate, Facultad de Ciencias, UNAM)

‘Morphological, ecological and genetic variation in the widespread Cyathea bicrenata (Cyatheaceae) in Mexico’

Pablo’s undergraduate project will focus on documenting the genetic structure across the distribution of Cyathea bicrenata in Mexico, and investigate its association with morphological, ecological and anatomical differentiation.


Former students

– Josué Barrera Redondo (Undergraduate)


‘Morphological and environmental factors associated with changes in substitution rates in ferns’.

Josué’s thesis focused on understanding why the molecular clock ‘ticks’ at different rates across lineages, using tree ferns as a model system. In short, Josué found that the rates of molecular evolution in tree ferns are associated with ecological and morphological traits.

His work made the cover of Evolution!



If you are interested in joining the lab contact Santiago Ramírez Barahona at or