Carlos Jaramillo

Diana Paola Ochoa L.

Diana Ochoa

Diana Ochoa


Research Interests

My research interests are principally related with palynology (pollen and spores), paleoclimatology and paleoecology, applied to understanding the biodiversity and dynamic of the tropical ecosystems and to biostratigraphy.

Current Research

My current research is focused in understanding the biodiversity changes in neotropical floras during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum. For this purpose I’m using palynological samples from NW Venezuela. So far, we had found a surprising increasing in diversity trough this warming period.

As a master student at East Tenessee State University-ETSU I am developing a research project which is focused on the palynological analysis of the Mio-Pliocene sediments from the Gray Fossil Site, Tennessee. My objectives are to understand the floral composition, and behavior of the living community in the southern Appalachian during this time. As well as related the record with main Mio-Pliocene changes in CO2 concentrations.


It is a geologically brief episode of global warming associated with the Paleocene – Eocene boundary (55.8 million years ago). The PETM is characterized by a globally warming, about 5°C for tropical areas and 8°C for mid and high latitudes. In the geological record this warming period has been associated with a worldwide negative carbon isotope excursion (CIE).

Because the PETM was a natural event that occurred in a brief period of time (100 to 250 kyr), it is an excellent analogue to the modern warming. For this, understanding the causes and consequences of this brief period will give some insight on the behavior and response of the marine and terrestrial biota.

The biotic response on land and in the oceans was heterogeneous in nature and severity, including radiations, extinctions and migrations (Sluijs, 07). For example, there is evidence of an increase in diversity on dinocysts and planktonic foraminifera (Kelly et al. 1998, Crouch and Brinkhuis 2005) but a large extinction rate in benthic foraminifera (Thomas 1998, 2003). Also, a change in mammalian composition is related to it, with the prosimians first occurrence (Gingerich 2006).

However, in terms of flora this event has been studied in high and mid latitudes (Harrington et al. 2004, Wing et al. 2005). However, the response of the terrestrial plants is still unknown, Because of that we had been working in samples from tropical areas (Northern part of South America) trying to understand the behavior and answer of the plant community to this warming.

Education and Degrees

B.S., Geology, Industrial University of Santander, Bucaramanga-Colombia, (2007).

Grants and Fellowships

Published Abstracts of Papers Presented at Professional Meetings