Dioon oaxacensis: a new cycad species from Oaxaca, Mexico

We are glad to introduce a new cycad species from Oaxaca, Mexico: Dioon oaxacensis.

Dioon oaxacensis represents a lineage of cycads that evolved in arid habitats of eastern Oaxaca. It shares morphological similarities with its sister D. merolae and a closely related species, D. purpusii. You can find the article in Phytotaxa:


How to cite:

Gutiérrez-Ortega J.S., Pérez-Farrera M.A., Vovides A.P., Salas-Morales S.H., Chemnick J. 2020. Dioon oaxacensis (Zamiaceae): a new cycad species from the arid central valleys of Oaxaca (Mexico). Phytotaxa 474 (1): 51-61. DOI: 10.11646/phytotaxa.474.1.5

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New publication: Cycad anatomy: Old techniques solving new problems

In a new chapter included in the “Proceedings of Cycad 2015: The 10th International Conference on Cycad Biology“, Andrew P. Vovides and we, his collaborators, talk about the advantages on using the traditional methods on plant anatomy to understand the biology and evolution of cycads.

You can find this Proceedings chapter here:

Vovides A.P., Pérez-Farrera M.A., Gutiérrez-Ortega J.S., Stevenson D.W., González D., Avendaño S., Sánchez-Tinoco Y., Galicia S. 2020. Cycad anatomy: Old techniques solving new problems. In: López-Gallego C., Calonje M., Griffith M.P., Khuraijam J.S. (Eds.). Proceedings of Cycad 2015: The 10th International Conference on Cycad Biology. Cycads: Official Newsletter of IUCN SSC Cycad Specialist Group. Vol. 5(1) (Special Issue), p. 33-44. ISSN 2473-442X. http://www.cycadgroup.org/?attachment_id=766

Becoming an assistant professor

This August, 2020, I started my services as assistant professor and coordinator of the ASCENT Program of the Global Science Campus of Chiba University, Japan. This position will give me the great opportunity to contribute for the educational formation of young Japanese students aiming to become the leader scientists of the future!

New paper: Leaflet anatomy of the Ceratozamia miqueliana species complex

I collaborated in the recently published paper “A revision of the Ceratozamia miqueliana (Zamiaceae) species complex based on analyses of leaflet anatomical characters”.

In this study, we demonstrated that a set of anatomical leaflets can be useful for the distinction of the five cycad species within this species complex. As a consequence, we suggest that the species C. becerrae should be considered as a valid taxonomic species.

You can find the published article in Flora journal, in this link: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0367253020301493


How to cite:

Vovides, A. P., Pérez-Farrera, M. A., Gutiérrez-Ortega, J. S., Avendaño, S., Medina-Villarreal, A., González-Astorga, J., & Galicia, S. (2020). A revision of the Ceratozamia miqueliana (Zamiaceae) species complex based on analyses of leaflet anatomical characters. Flora, 151649.

¡Presentación en línea! Una conferencia para la Sociedad Mexicana de Botánica A.C.

Hace unos días participé en la primera sesión del programa “Plantástico!: Diálogos botánicos”, organizado por la página de FaceBook de la Sociedad Mexicana de Botánica.

En mi presentación hablé sobre mi investigación titulada “Historia evolutiva de las cícadas del género Dioon: ¿por qué México tiene tantas especies de cícadas?”

Fue una experiencia muy divertida para mí, y espero que haya sido muy informativo para el público general. Puedes ver la grabación de mi presentación en este sitio: https://www.facebook.com/145257752203714/videos/573218950270386/


New paper: Niche conservatism promotes speciation in cycads!

I am very happy to announce the publication of our latest research entitled “Niche conservatism promotes speciation in cycads: the case of Dioon merolae (Zamiaceae) in Mexico”!!!

In this paper, we report a curious case in which niche conservatism plays an important role in the separation of lineages within a cycad species: in a changing environment, cycad populations try to retain their ancestral niche, whereas intermediate areas that undergo environmental change act as barriers against gene flow. This causes isolation leading allopatric speciation. Although it is not always easy to percieve, we think this mechanism of speciation is very common in nature, especially in groups with strong biological stasis, such as cycads. 

You can find our paper in New Phytologist’s webpage: https://nph.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1111/nph.16647



Gutiérrez-Ortega J.S., Salinas-Rodríguez M.M., Ito T., Pérez-Farrera M.A., Vovides A.P., Martínez J.F., Molina-Freaner F., Hernández-López A., Kawaguchi L., Nagano A.J., Kajita T., Watano Y., Tsuchimatsu T., Takahashi Y., Murakami M. 2020. Niche conservatism promotes speciation in cycads: the case of Dioon merolae (Zamiaceae) in Mexico. New Phytologist. DOI: 10.1111/nph.16647.


I obtained the Award for Young Researchers of The Japanese Society for Plant Systematics!

It is an honor to receive this year the Award for Young Researchers of the Japanese Society for Plant Systematics! I feel happy that my research on cycad’s evolution has been well appreciated by the great scientists that I admire. I was surprised to know that I am the first foreigner to ever win this award.

I also want to congratulate the other awarded researchers, who have achieved great  contributions for the Japanese Science. Congratulations!

Awarded researchers were preparing to share our findings to the attendees of the 19th Meeting of the Japanese Society for Plant Systematics in Gifu. But sadly, all scientific meetings have been canceled this season to prevent 2019-nCoV infections. So, take care and see you at the meeting in 2021!

More information about the award or the society’s meeting here:





Cycads Vol. 4 is published!

The new volume of “CYCADS”, the newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Cycad Specialist Group, was published.

This time I am contributing with the article “Speciation processes in Mexican cycads: our research progress on the genus Dioon“. I hope that our proposed hypotheses can be applied in other cycad genera.

Full citation:

Gutiérrez-Ortega J.S., Salinas-Rodríguez M.M., Pérez-Farrera M.A., Vovides A.P. 2019. Speciation processes in Mexican cycads: our research progress on the genus Dioon. Cycads: Official Newsletter of IUCN SSC Cycad Specialist Group. Vol. 4(1), p. 10-11, ISSN 2473-442X. http://www.cycadgroup.org/?p=736.

Find the publication in this site:

Click to access Cycads_41_2019.pdf




Presentation in the 83th Annual Meeting of the Botanical Society of Japan

I really enjoyed all great conferences in the the 83th Annual Meeting of the Botanical Society of Japan, in Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan.

I am specially grateful to those interested in my poster presentation “Niche conservatism promotes ecological speciation in the cycad Dioon merolae (Zamiaceae) in Mexico”. All comments and advices are being very useful to glimpse the future direction of my research. Thank you very much! And see you next year!

Further information about the meeting is in its official webpage: http://bsj.or.jp/bsj83/en/index.html