Montgomery hosted a lecture by cycad conservation expert, Dr. Cristina Lopez-Gallego, who is Professor at Universidad de Antioquia, Medellín, Colombia, and Research Fellow at MBC.

With 20 species, Colombia has the richest Zamia flora in the world. These Zamia live in a wide range of habitats, from the wettest forests on earth to arid deserts. Colombia has the cycad with the largest leaflets (Zamia wallisii), and the only Zamia with a prominent midvein in its leaflets (Zamia restrepoi). Many of Colombia’s Zamia are of serious conservation concern, with at least half Critically Endangered or Endangered. Conservation of these remarkable plants is extremely important, so Dr. Lopez-Gallego has worked to develop strategies for ensuring their survival.

Dr. Cristina Lopez-Gallego received her Ph.D. in Conservation Biology from the University of New Orleans in 2007 with a dissertation entitled “Effects of habitat degradation on the evolutionary dynamics of populations in a rainforest cycad.” Her research is focused on cycad conservation and ecology in Colombia. She has been on the faculty of the Universidad de Antioquia in Colombia since 2007. She is also a longtime collaborator and Research Fellow with MBC. Her studies at Montgomery are generously supported by the Kelly Botanical Research Fellows Program.