Diego Salazar

Diego Salazar
Florida International University | FIU · Department of Biological Sciences

PhD

About

30
Publications
9,093
Reads
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480
Citations
Citations since 2017
15 Research Items
369 Citations
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2017201820192020202120222023020406080100
2017201820192020202120222023020406080100
2017201820192020202120222023020406080100
Introduction
My research centers on the mechanisms that forge and maintain tropical plant diversity. Specifically, I study the role that plant chemistry and herbivore interactions play in the distribution, coexistence, and diversification of plants. To this date, my work integrates experimental ecology, metabolomics, statistical learning, and applied systematics, all built on the cornerstone of natural history. I have been particularly engaged in the study of species chemical diversity, a deeply overlook component of our world's biodiversity.
Additional affiliations
March 2013 - June 2016
University of California Berkeley
Position
  • PostDoc Position
January 2006 - October 2013
University of Missouri - St. Louis
Position
  • PhD Student

Publications

Publications (30)
Article
Accumulating evidence suggests that herbivorous insects influence local composition and richness of Neotropical plant species, particularly in species‐rich genera. Species richness, phylogenetic diversity, and chemical diversity all influence the ability of insect herbivores to find and utilize their hosts. The relative impact of these components o...
Article
Full-text available
Interactions between plants and leaf herbivores have long been implicated as the major driver of plant secondary metabolite diversity. However, other plant-animal interactions, such as those between fruits and frugivores, may also be involved in phytochemical diversification. Using 12 species of Piper, we conducted untargeted metabolomics and molec...
Article
Full-text available
Abstract Plant defense chemistry is often hypothesized to drive ecological and evolutionary success in diverse tropical forests, yet detailed characterizations of plant secondary metabolites in tropical plants are logistically challenging. Here, we explore a new integrative approach that combines visible‐to‐shortwave infrared (VSWIR) spectral refle...
Preprint
Interactions between plants and leaf herbivores have long been implicated as the major driver of plant secondary metabolite diversity. However, other plant-animal interactions, such as those between fruits and frugivores, may also be involved in phytochemical diversification. Using 12 species of Piper, we conducted untargeted metabolomics and molec...
Article
Full-text available
Plant secondary metabolites play important ecological and evolutionary roles, most notably in the deterrence of natural ene-mies. The classical theory explaining the evolution of plant chemical diversity is that new defences arise through a pairwise co-evolutionary arms race between plants and their specialized natural enemies. However, plant speci...
Article
Full-text available
Little is known about the mechanisms promoting or limiting the coexistence of functionally divergent species in hyperdiverse tropical tree genera. Density-dependent enemy attacks have been proposed to be a major driver for the local coexistence of chemically divergent congeneric species. At the same time, we expect local soil conditions to favor th...
Article
Full-text available
Community ecologists have strived to find mechanisms that mediate the assembly of natural communities. Recent evidence suggests that natural enemies could play an important role in the assembly of hyper-diverse tropical plant systems. Classic ecological theory predicts that in order for coexistence to occur, species differences must be maximized ac...
Article
Fifty years ago, Ehrlich and Raven proposed that insect herbivores have driven much of plant speciation, particularly at tropical latitudes. There have been no explicit tests of their hypotheses. Indeed there were no proposed mechanisms either at the time or since by which herbivores might generate new plant species. Here we outline two main classe...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding the role of diversity in ecosystem processes and species interactions is a central goal of ecology. For plant-herbivore interactions, it has been hypothesized that when plant species diversity is reduced, loss of plant biomass to herbivores increases. Although long-standing, this hypothesis has received mixed support. Increasing plant...
Conference Paper
Generalist herbivores are important consumers of most plant species, yet evolutionary and ecological theory has focused on the importance of interactions between plants and their specialist natural enemies. For example, the arsenal of plant secondary metabolites has been hypothesized to result from an evolutionary arms race between plant species an...
Conference Paper
Ecologists have strived to find the mechanisms that govern the assembly of natural communities. Classical ecological theory predicts that in order for coexistence to occur, species differences need to be maximized across biologically important niche dimensions. New evidence suggests that natural enemies and chemical defenses could play an important...
Article
Full-text available
In the Amazon basin and the Guiana Shield, white-sand (WS) forests are recognized as a low-resource habitat often composed by a distinct flora with many edaphic endemic plants. Small patches of nutrient-poor white-sand forests can pose a series of challenges to plants and animals. For plants, these challenges have been shown to function as strong f...
Article
Directed dispersal occurs when seeds are differentially deposited to sites where offspring survivorship is higher than at randomly chosen sites. Traditionally, characteristics of the dispersal target sites that could increase survivorship of the dispersed plants are thought to be intrinsic to the sites. If directed dispersal is constant over extend...
Article
Full-text available
Increases in species diversity and density from higher to lower latitudes are well documented. Nevertheless, the consequences of these changes in diversity for structuring ecological communities and influencing biotic evolution are largely unknown. It is widely believed that this increase in species diversity is associated with increased intensity...
Conference Paper
Background/Question/Methods It has long been hypothesized that herbivore pressure in the tropics is both qualitatively and quantitatively different from that in temperate regions. To test the hypothesis that herbviore pressure is both higher and caused by a more diverse array of herbivore species at low latitudes, we sampled two Piper (Piperaceae...
Article
Indirect effects of trophic interactions on biodiversity can be large and common, even in complex communities. Previous experiments with dominant understory Piper shrubs in a Costa Rican rain forest revealed that increases in herbivore densities on these shrubs caused widespread seedling mortality as a result of herbivores moving from Piper to seed...
Article
yMany arborescent palms develop a stilt root cone that provides increased mechanical support on steep hillsides, better root aeration under waterlogged conditions, resprouting after mechanical damage, and rapid stem elongation. However, for most species the role of stilt roots is not well understood. We determined how palm size and slope inclinatio...

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Projects

Projects (2)
Project
Assessing the imprint of plant-frugivore interactions on evolutionary and organismal patterns of phytochemistry in the genus Piper. To what extent can selection imposed by separate sets of ecological interactions act independently on the secondary metabolome of vegetative and reproductive organs? Which sets of interactions are driving phytochemical evolution at the whole-plant level?