I am from Pasto, Colombia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pasto,_Colombia). I got my Bachelor and Masters degree in Biology at the Universidad del Valle in Cali, Colombia (http://www.univalle.edu.co/). Then, I made my PhD studies in Biology at the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras campus in San Juan, PR (http://www.uprrp.edu/). From 2010 to 2012 I was a Postdoctoral fellow at Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (http://www.stri.si.edu/) supported by BBVA foundation (Spain) and SENACYT (Panama) and advised by Eldredge Bermingham (STRI) and Gonzalo N. Feliner (CSIC).
I am generally interested in the evolutionary biology of tropical plants. My research goals in the last five years have been focused on two fundamental questions: 1) the impact of both the final closure of the Central American Isthmus and the Pleistocene glaciations on the historical demography and current population genetic structure of the neotropical flora and 2) the effect of ongoing hybridization and introgression on the evolution of ecological and physiological characters. To answer those questions I have been using the two most conspicuous mangrove genera from neotropics as a model, Rhizophora (red mangrove) and Avicennia (black mangrove).
Currently, my postdoctoral research work in Andy’s lab is framed in the project: Intraspecific variation in drought responses of tropical trees – implications for species distribution under climatic change. Our goal is to compare the genetic structure and gene flow of 10 non-model tropical species across six populations distributed a gradient of rainfall in Central Panama. I am designing neutral molecular markers across the genome of these tropical species using Next-Gen technology in order to answer the following questions: 1) what are the relative contributions of genetic variation among populations and phenotypic plasticity to intraspecific variation in drought responses? And 2) is the level of variation in drought responses related to genetic structure and gene flow among populations? At the end of this project we expect to understand the adaptive genetic variation and phenotypic plasticity of tropical tree species in response to climate.
Jones, F.A., Cerón-Souza, I., Hardesty, B.D. & Dick, C.W. (2012) Genetic evidence of Quaternary demographic changes in four rain forest tree species sampled across the Isthmus of Panama. Journal of Biogeography, 40, 720-731.
Cerón-Souza, I., Bermingham, E., McMillan, W. & Jones, F. (2012) Comparative genetic structure of two mangrove species in Caribbean and Pacific estuaries of Panama. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 12, 205.
Cerón-Souza, I., Rivera-Ocasio, E., Medina, E., Jimenez, J.A., McMillan, W.O. & Bermingham, E. (2010) Hybridization and introgression in New World red mangroves, Rhizophora (Rhizophoraceae). American Journal of Botany, 97, 945-957.
Lasso, E., Cerón-Souza, I. & Bermingham, E. (2010) Development and characterization of 12 microsatellite loci in Piper cordulatum (Piperaceae) and cross-species amplification. In: Molecular Ecology Resources, pp. 10: 1098-1105, Permanent Genetic Resources added to Molecular Ecology Resources Database 1 April 2010 – 31 May 2010.
Cerón-Souza, I., Rivera-Ocasio, E., Funk, S.M. & McMillan, W.O. (2006) Development of six microsatellite loci for black mangrove (Avicennia germinans). Molecular Ecology Notes, 6, 692-694.
Cerón-Souza, I., Toro-Perea, N. & Cárdenas-Henao, H. (2005) Population genetic structure of Neotropical mangrove species on the Colombian Pacific coast: Avicennia germinans (Avicenniaceae). Biotropica, 37, 258-265.