Tiny blossoms appear in the spring on this flower of the Paramos, shown here next to a Colombian 500 Pesos coin.

The coolest biodiversity hotspot? JRS Grantee Santiago Madriñán’s work featured in the New York Times

“In 1799 the great naturalist Alexander von Humboldt and his companions set out from Caracas, Venezuela, to climb the Andes. They struggled up a mountainside enveloped in mist so thick they had to clamber over rocks by hand. When the fog cleared, von Humboldt was left astonished by the view. Vast grasslands stretched all around him, home to an astonishing number of different trees, shrubs and flowers.” So begins a science column in the New York Times ‘Fast-Paced Evolution in the Andes‘  that highlights Dr. Madriñán’s recent study in the October 9th Frontiers in Genetics, “Páramo is the world’s fastest evolving and coolest biodiversity hotspot” by Santiago Madriñán, Andrés J. Cortés (Uppsala University), and James E. Richardson (Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh).   The study demonstrates that average net diversification rates of Páramo plant lineages are faster than those of other reportedly fast evolving hotspots and that the faster evolving lineages are more likely to be found in Páramos than the other hotspots.  Read about JRS’ support to this work at: Universidad de los Andes: Páramo Plants Online.