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Former Members

Cindy Gonzalez

Luz Helena Oviedo

Surangi Punyasena

Nikki Strong

Adhara de la Barrera

Universidad de Panamá, Panamá

Atria de la Barrera

Universidad de Panamá, Panamá

Ariel Arjona

Sandra Reinales

Universidad Nacional, Colombia

Lineth Contreras

Ecopetrol, Colombia

Alexander Correa

Florida Institute of Technology, USA

Flavia Fiorini

The Petroleum Institute, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Humberto Carvajal

Indiana University – Bloomintgon, USA

Carlos Molinares

Ecopetrol, Colombia

Carlos Sánchez

Universty of Missouri-Rolla, USA

Jorge Lezcano

Universidad de Panama, Panama

Fátima Rodriguez

Felipe Lamus

Universidade de Sao Paulo, Brazil

David Farris

Assistant Professor Florida State University

Felipe de la Parra

Instituto Colombiano del Petróleo

Alexis Rojas

Collection manager

Carlos Moreno

Database Manager

Carolina Ayala

Carolina Ojeda

Omar Montenegro

Abraham Osorio

Carlos Cuartas

Carlos Santos

Instituto Colombiano del Petroleo, Ecopetrol

Walton Green

Smithsonian Institute, USA

Carolina Gomez

Berkely University, USA

Gilberto Mendoza

Marcela Montoya

Universidad de Antioquia, Colombia

Mauro de Toledo

Universidade Federal Fluminense, Brazil

Jose Arenas

Ingeominas, Colombia

Hernán Antolinez


Jose Arenas

Ingeominas, Colombia

Andrés Cárdenas

University of South Florida, USA

Diana Carolina Useche

Instituto Alexander von Humboldt

Sorangela Cardona

Raul Daza

Tatiana Gaona

Ingeominas, Colombia

Yuri García

Pilar Lopera

University of South Florida, USA

Liliana Medina

Universidad EAFIT, Colombia

Sandra Restrepo

Instituto Colombiano del Petroleo, Ecopetrol

Guillermo Rodríguez

Ecopetrol, Colombia

James Wilson


Jorge Moreno

Gustavo A. Ballen

Valentina Ramírez V.

Federico Moreno

Carlos de Gracia

Ingrid Romero

Vladimir Zapata

Alejandro Machado

Andres Baresch

Sebastián Zapata

John Ortiz

Manuel Páez

Carlos D’apolito

Diego Ramirez

Andrés Gomez

Francy Carvajal

Millerlandy Romero Baéz

MS Students

Camilla Crifó

By comparing the distribution of vein density through different forest habitats I want to test the possible application of this leaf trait to the fossil record as proxy of forest stratification.

During my M.Sc. I plan to collect canopy and understorey leaves of different species from a temperate forest in Maryland (Smithsonian Environmental Research Center) and a dry tropical forest in Panama. I will measure and compare the vein density distribution in these forests with the data previously collected in two Tropical rainforests in Panama (Sherman and Parque Metropolitano plots)

Cesar Silva

Oklahoma State University
Boone Pickens School of Geology

Aldo Rincón B.

I am studying the Miocene paleontology of the Northwestern part of South America and the biogeographic evolution of different groups of lower vertebrates and mammals in the Panama Isthmus.

This information will allow us to understand origin and evolution of macrofauna diversity found in Northwestern South America during the uppermost Cretaceous and the lower Cenozoic periods.

Camila Martinez

Specifically I am working, in the early angiosperms fossil record, its relation with molecular phylogenies, biogeographic reconstructions and diversification process in the Neotropics

Sara Morón

I am currently working in an interdisciplinary team working on the geology of the Panama Canal. This project involves measuring of stratigraphic sections, helping in the interpretation of paleo-environments, helping understand the tectonic setting, and assessing the relationship between source rock and sediments. This information will be useful to understand the behavior of the sequences after and before the closure of the Panama Istmus, and documenting the differences between passive and active margin sequences.

Diana Paola Ochoa

My current research is focused in understanding the biodiversity changes in neotropical floras during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum. For this purpose I’m using palynological samples from NW Venezuela. So far, we had found a surprising increasing in diversity trough this warming period.

As a master student at East Tenessee State University-ETSU I am developing a research project which is focused on the palynological analysis of the Mio-Pliocene sediments from the Gray Fossil Site, Tennessee. My objectives are to understand the floral composition, and behavior of the living community in the southern Appalachian during this time. As well as related the record with main Mio-Pliocene changes in CO2 concentrations.

Monica Ramirez

Penn State University

Edwin Correa

McGill University, Canada

Mauricio Gutierrez

Universidad de Santiago de Chile, Chile

My temporal emphasis is the latest Cretaceous (Maastrichtian 78-65 Ma) and Miocene 23- 5.3 Ma, intervals profoundly different to the modern world. These periods include the latest climate changes. I use macrofossil leaves and pollen fossil to understand past global changes and to evaluate ancient ecosystems, emphasizing in paleoclimatology; the behavior of floras and the evolution and diversification of plants

Principal Field areas include the subterranean coal mine in Guaduas Formation from Boyaca and Cundinamarca states of Colombia; Central Chile outcrops of Navidad Formation.

María Cecilia Ruiz

I am currently working how Exploration Geologist in prospect generation and Regional projects in Colombia Basins.

I am highly capable with a variety of software and possess the skills necessary to achieve any goals. I can integrate the necessary data for prospect generation by working in structural geology, seismic interpretation, stratigraphic and petrophysical analysis, and reserves calculations/risking.

PhD Students

Janet Raymer

University of Missouri, USA

Sandra Catalina Suarez

My research interests are Geology (especially Stratigraphy and sedimentary rocks), Paleontology (vertebrate’s paleontology, especially mammals) and Paleoecology. I am very interested in studying paleoecological and paleoclimatological conditions during important extinction periods.

Javier Luque

I am interested in understanding the ecological and macroevolutionary processes that have shaped the biodiversity of tropical decapod crustaceans throughout time, via integration of paleontological and neontological approaches. Particularly, I am interested in unraveling the phylogenetic relationships among the main crab clades, the evolution of their visual systems through time, and the role of the Neotropics in the early evolution and diversification of certain decapod clades. I have chosen decapods as a study system because they have a good fossil record and are abundant and relatively well known in modern ecosystems.

Antonia Lopez

My current research is focused on the biostratigraphy of Upper Cretaceous non-marine palynofloras in the northwestern of Mexico. I am trying to understand the palynological provincialism noted throughout the Late Cretaceous.

Oris Rodriguez

  • Paleobotany.
  • Paleoclimatology based on wood anatomy characters.
  • Wood anatomy aiding the identification of plants.
  • Plant Systematics
  • Plant biogeographical aspects.
  • Biodiversity and its origin (especially in the Neotropics).

Catalina Pimiento

Fossil Sharks of Panama
The Panama isthmus was formed about 3.1-2.8 Ma, is a narrow strip of land that separates the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean. Before the isthmus arose, the two oceans coexisted in that area forming the Central America Seaway. The fossil record indicates that in the past, different shark species inhabited this seaway. Several changes in oceanographic conditions associated with the geologic processes of the formation of the isthmus had different effects in shark fauna. I’m updating sharks fossil record of the Gatun Formation in Panama and comparing the taxa found with previous studies and with similar faunas in the Caribbean

Luis Ignacio Quiroz

University of Saskatchewan, Canada

Gabriela Doria

During my PhD studies I plan to explore issues on flowering plants evolution and the origin of Neotropical rainforests. The early stages of diversification of flowering plants, the main components of modern tropical forests, occurred during the Cretaceous (from 142 to 65 million years ago), a period of very active tectonics and redistribution of landmasses that resulted in global temperatures and sea levels much higher than today. However, the plant fossil record from the Cretaceous of northern South America is very scarce and little is known about the initial stages of diversification of Neotropical forests prior to the Cretaceous/Paleogene boundary (K/T).

Edwin Cadena

Vertebrate Paleontology, particularly on molecular paleontology of turtles. Currently, I am characterizing and sequencing bone proteins in modern turtles, for which I am using biomolecular and immunological techniques, as well as mass spectrometry and advanced bone histology. Tracking back the potential preservation of biomolecules in turtle bone from 0 (present) to 160Ma (Early Cretaceous) will give us a better understanding of molecular evolutionary rates, trends in proteins degradation and modification in past time, as well as potential phylogenetic resolution, key for projects like TimeTree of Life. Part of my previous research has been focused on systematics, evolutionary history, paleobiogeography and paleobiology of neotropical turtles, trying to understand the response of tropical vertebrates to major climatic events during the Cenozoic, as well as their potential use as proxies for establishment of paleoclimate

Fabiany Herrera

My research focuses on the evolutionary origin of the South American rainforests by looking at plant macrofossils. I am interested to know when and how the tropical rainforests appeared in the Neotropics, what mechanisms have produced the high species diversity and the characteristic family composition. I want to reconstruct the paleoclimatic, paleoecological and paleobiogeographical conditions under which the ancient Neotropical rainforest flourished, particularly during the Late Cretaceous, Paleogene and Middle Miocene. I am also interested on the systematic and taxonomy of Neotropical fossil plants.

Paula Mejia

The main objective of my research is to determine the floristic composition (abundance and diversity) of several tropical sites (Colombia, Peru and Brazil) through the use of quantitative palynology. With this information I will be able to determine floristic patterns of different plant groups in the tropics and infer major climatic conditions of tropical latitudes during the early radiation of flowering plants (using abundance of climate indicator species). The next step is to determine how the floristic composition of tropical latitudes compares to the composition of ecosystems in high latitudes and test the presence of a latitudinal diversity gradient for different plants groups during the Lower Cretaceous.


Scott Whattam

Camilo Montes

Paula Narváez

My current work is focused on the palynology of the Neotropics. I am doing a detailed palynologic analysis of Late Cretaceous-Paleocene samples from Colombia.

Austin Hendy

Stratigraphic as well as geographic variations in paleoenvironments and biofacies of the Gatun Formation (Late Miocene). This project incorporates new collections from Panama canal expansion and accessible outcrops in the vicinity of Colón, existing and historic data sources, and drill core material made available by the Autoridad del Canal de Panamá.

Fatima Leite

I work with palynology in the project “Biostratigraphy of the Urumaco Basin”. Aplying different tools we aim a high resolution biostratigraphy for the Neogene of the northern South America.

Jaime Escobar

University of Florida, USA

Rory R. McFadden

My current research is on the evolution of the isthmus of Panamá. I am conducting field-based structural geology and geochronology to study an arc-related plutonic complex in Eastern Panamá.

Natalia Hoyos

Currently I am working on the conceptual design, data loading and maintenance of a geodatabase that includes detailed field geological data for Eastern Panama and the Canal area. Eventually, these data will be interpreted as geological maps and will include valuable information on structures, geochronology and biostratigraphy. I am also participating in a project that deals with paleogeographic reconstructions in northern Colombia, using the software GPlates. The purpose of this project is to recreate the movement of geological blocks at different time steps.

German Bayona

Agustin Cardona

Silane A. Ferreira da Silva

I am studying the Miocene History of the Northwestern part of South America. During the Miocene, the Eastern Andes Uplifted may have played an important role in species diversification via relief and depositional environment changes.

We are doing a detailed palynological analysis of the Llanos foothills in Colombia and Brazilian Amazon. We use these data to reconstruct the Miocene palynoflora and understand how plant distribution and diversity were modified by environmental changes.

Undergraduate Students

Juan David Carrillo S.

“Evolution and palaeoecology of vertebrates, especially mammals from South America. I intend to solve questions related with the macro evolutionary changes of these lineages in relation with palaeoenvironmental conditions. I am also interested in the reconstruction of palaeoenvironments of the South American tropics”

Maria Camila Vallejo Pareja

Actually, I’m at the Paleontological and Geological Project on the Panama Canal, working on the diversity of the paleofauna, particularly interested in the mammals. The paleontological and geological evidence will allowed us to do some ecological reconstructions.
Also, I’m working in the exploration of the Eocene Gatuncillo Formation. We are looking forward new clues for the uplift of the Panama Isthmus.


Andrés Felipe Gómez Valdés

Alejandro Montes

Miguel Heras

Gabriel García de Paredes

Carolina Guzman

Mónica Shippritt


Millerlandy Romero Baéz

Sandra Catalina Suaréz

Francy Carvajal

Andrés Gomez

Diego Ramirez

Carlos D’apolito

Manuel Páez
Brock University, Canada

John Ortiz

Sebastián Zapata

Andres Baresch

Alejandro Machado

Vladimir Zapata

Ingrid Romero

Carlos de Gracia

Federico Moreno

Valentina Ramírez V.

Gustavo A. Ballen

Jorge Moreno