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:


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:


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:



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.

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:






Presentation in the Japan Plant Systematics meeting 2019

The Plant Systematics meeting of the Japan Society for Plant Systematics (植物分類学会) was held in Hachioji, Tokyo, during 7–9 March, 2019. Many experts in the field of systematics and evolutionary biology presented their excellent researches. Thank you very much!

I participated in this meeting by providing a talk entitled: “Niche conservatism promotes ecological speciation in the cycad Dioon merolae (Zamiaceae) in Mexico”. This is part of my current research as postdoctoral fellow in Chiba University. I hope I can try to publish the results I presented in this meeting soon. Thanks everyone for the advises I received!


Further information about the meeting (Japanese only):


Dioon vovidesii: a new cycad species in Mexico

Multidisciplinary evidence suggests that Dioon populations in Sonora, Mexico, comprise two different and isolated lineages in accordance to their geographic distribution. In this paper, we recognise that the type morphology of Dioon sonorense only occurs at the southern populations, whereas the northern populations show different features that justify their taxonomic recognition as a new species, Dioon vovidesii sp. nov.

Full citation:

Gutiérrez-Ortega J.S., Jiménez-Cedillo K., Pérez-Farrera M.A., Martínez J.F., Molina-Freaner F., Watano Y., Kajita T. 2018. Species definition of Dioon sonorense (Zamiaceae, Cycadales), and description of D. vovidesii, a new cycad species from Northwestern Mexico. Phytotaxa 369 (2): 107-114. DOI: 10.11646/phytotaxa.369.2.4