Category Archives: Uncategorized

New Publication

We have a new publication in Frontiers in Genetics “Comparative evolutionary diversity and phylogenetic structure across multiple forest dynamics plots” a mega-phylogeny approach”.  This paper is a result of the Dimensions of Biodiversity IRCN workshops that have taken place over the past couple of years in the USA and China.  The abstract and article can be found here.  Nice work Dave!


Seedling Transplant Experiment 2014

Below are photos of  a large reciprocal transplant and common garden experiment being established in Panama. Our team of 10 American, German, and Panamanian scientists and technicians transplanted over 3000 tropical tree seedlings of 16 species into 4 separate forests, which each receive different amounts of annual precipitation, in September 2014.  We are testing the degree to which tropical tree species show local adaptation and plasticity in response to seasonal drought conditions across a strong rainfall gradient in Central Panama.  The results of this experiment will help us to predict and understand how tropical forests will respond to climate change.

Comita, Engelbrecht, Jones, Manzane BCNM Sept14_small Jpegs (5 of 47)
Dr. Eric Manzane, STRI postdoctoral fellow, transplants seedlings into the common garden on Buena Vista Peninsula, Barro Colorado Nature Monument, Panama
Comita, Engelbrecht, Jones, Manzane BCNM Sept14_small Jpegs (38 of 47)
Andy and Nelson map individual seedlings in a common garden on Buena Vista.
Comita, Engelbrecht, Jones, Manzane BCNM Sept14_small Jpegs (30 of 47)
Dr. Bettina Engelbrecht (U. Bayreuth) scouting for sites for seedlings.
Comita, Engelbrecht, Jones, Manzane BCNM Sept14_small Jpegs (27 of 47)
Dr. Liza Comita (Yale) plants seedlings in a common garden.
Comita, Engelbrecht, Jones, Manzane BCNM Sept14_small Jpegs (22 of 47)
Eric and Andy transplanting a few of the thousands of seedlings that were planted on Buena Vista.
Comita, Engelbrecht, Jones, Manzane BCNM Sept14_small Jpegs (7 of 47)
Andy inspecting roots of one of the seedlings







May News

Congratulations to Jessica Celis, who was awarded a graduate research assistantship through the HJ Andrews LTER site for 2014 -2015 to continue her research on the effects of conifer encroachment on Cascade meadow plant communities in collaboration with Charlie Halpern at UW.  Well done all.

Incoming Lab Members and Summer REU students

More news to report.  The Jones lab has two new Ph.D. students entering the lab in 2014 and two new REU students this summer.

Kristen Finch comes to us from Hendrix College where she performed undergraduate research on Ponderosa Pine population genetics.  Kristen is currently an intern at Fairchild Tropical Gardens in Miami.  Kristen plans to work on population genetics of tropical trees.

Tyler Schappe got his undergraduate degree at University of Wisconsin – Madison. Tyler is currently an intern at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute working with Owen Lewis and Lars Markesteijn.  Tyler was awarded an OSU provost fellowship at OSU and plans to work on the role of functional traits in community assembly across a rainfall gradient in central Panama.

Two REU students will participate in the STRI REU site in Panama this summer.  Vanessa Rubio is an undergrad researcher at Universidad de los Andes in Bogota, Colombia and will work on our drought project.  Nathan Stables is an undergraduate researcher from the University of Illinois – Champaign Urbana.  Nathan will be working on looking at genetic variation in Panamanian trees in support of our drought project.

Welcome to all!


April News

It is always a pleasure to post good news from the lab –  we’ve had a lot lately, and there is more on the way – but for now:

Congratulations to undergraduate researcher Kaitlyn Furnish, who was awarded summer support to continue to work in the lab through the Jaworski scholarship in summer 2014.

Congratulations to undergraduate researcher Megan O’Connell who will start a Ph.D. program in the fall of 2014 in Shalene Jha’s lab at UT – Austin.

Congratulations to graduate researcher Jessica Celis, who was awarded a grant from the Portland Garden Club to support her research on meadow restoration and the role of functional traits in community reassembly.

Congratulations to postdoctoral researcher Kaitlin Bonner, who will start a faculty position in the fall of 2014 in the department of biology at St. John Fisher College in Rochester, NY.

Great job everyone!

REU Program in Integrative Tropical Biology

What is the STRI | REU program?

STRI’s program in Integrative Tropical Biology is
an international experience for students from the
US and Latin America.
The  10-week program is built on three broad
research themes:
– Adaptation and Resilience,
– Species Interactions, and
– Drivers of Ecosystem Change.
Each theme is driven by the common need to understand how
biological systems are integrated to answer questions about
the origins, maintenance, and preservation of biodiversity.
Over the 10 weeks, you will conduct mentor-driven research
at STRI on a project tailored to your specific interest (see for a list of scientists and potential projects).
Additionally, you will participate in workshops, professional
development activities, and networking events that will
challenge you to critically
think about science.

Who is eligible?
We are looking for 3rd or 4th year undergraduates who are
interested in exploring the processes that generate our
world’s extraordinary diversity. Our program reaches across
disciplines and students enrolled in the traditional life science
departments (e.g. biology, ecology, botany, etc.), as well as,
engineering, mathematics, and computer science departments
are strongly encouraged to apply. We also encourage
applications from groups under-represented in the sciences.

What will you gain?
• Cutting edge research experience
• Greater understanding of tropical ecosystems
• Experience in how to publish and communicate science
• Expanded knowledge of Latin American culture
• Opportunity to improve your foreign language skills

What will interns receive?
• Airfare, housing, and food allowance
• A $5,000 stipend


Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) at STRI

A new REU site is expected to be established at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in summer 2014.  The STRI website outlining this new opportunity is here (and under construction).  More information will be made available shortly about opportunities within the Jones lab,  applications will be due March 31st at the aforementioned site.  We particularly encourage applications from students in underrepresented groups.  More to come.

Undergraduate Researcher News

The Jones lab is happy to welcome two new undergraduate researchers to the group.  Kaitlyn Furnish and Mariah Dawson were awarded USRA ENGAGE internships.  They will be working in the lab helping to genotype Heliconia tortuosa populations from Costa Rica and also helping genotype tropical trees as a part our drought project in Panamanian trees this Winter and Spring.  In related undergraduate research news, Megan O’Connell was awarded a URISC award to conduct independent research on tropical tree physiology and drought tolerance in our sites in Panama at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.  Welcome to all and congratulations, we are glad to have you on board!