Based at the Javeriana University, in Cali, Southwest Colombia, my work aims to develop integrative approaches to address conservation challenges in this mega-biodiverse country. I lead the Research Program for Conservation and Sustainable Use of Vanilla Crop Wild Relatives, and the ECOrquideas student research group. Our integrated orchid conservation programs combine in situ and ex situ approaches. Studies include orchid pollination, mycorrhizal interactions, functional ecology, landscape genomics, population demography and monitoring, as well as seed and mycorrhizal banking, symbiotic and asymbiotic in vitro propagation, and population restoration. We also aim to build capacity for community-based conservation.
I believe firmly in inclusive research, and in my projects look to develop broad collaborations across diverse stakeholders, including orchid growers, governmental and non-governmental entities, and particularly with local communities, including indigenous peoples, and afro-descendent communities, who, under the Colombian constitution have autonomous control over their territories. As such, I have projects that encompass the Amazon, Andean and Pacific Regions of the country.