As research director of Fundacion Biodiversa Colombia, I manage projects on conservation and ecological restoration that promote the sustainable development in Colombia. My scientific research revolves around acquiring a fundamental understanding on the particularities of tropical plant communities (in contrast with temperate ones) that could explain the patterns observed in long-term population dynamics and during community assembly. I am particularly interested in investigating spatially explicit phenomena during plant-plant, plant-microbes, and plant-animal interactions.

Susana is involved in the following Foundation’s projects:

Academic background and experience

  • Academic background

    Biologist from the National University of Colombia; Ph.D. in Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology, and Masters of Applied Statistics, both from The Ohio State University

  • Professional experience

    Teaching and research assistant at The Ohio State University (2002-2008); Postdoctoral scholar at the University of California, Berkeley (2009-2010) and Arizona University (2011-2013).

    I do research on pure or applied ecology; especially with projects that could be applied to conservation and management of natural resources. My approach has been to combine analytical techniques, experimentation, and ecological simulations to understand drivers of patterns and processes in plant communities and populations. In particular, I want to understand the role of competition and facilitation. In applied ecology, I have designed concrete conservation and management strategies for vulnerable plant communities and populations. My approach is to design, calibrate, and integrate ecological models that provide sound recommendation despite high levels of uncertainty in ecological data.


  • Books

    Rodriguez-Buritica, S. and K. Suding. 2013. Foothill vegetation. In: J. Panek and C. Sydoriak (eds.). A Natural Resource Condition Assessment for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park. Natural Resource Report NPS/SEKI/NRR-2013/665.10: 48pp.

  • Scientific papers
    • Rodriguez-Buritica, S. and K. Suding. 2013. Interactive effects of temporal and spatial fire characteristics on the population dynamics of a fire-dependent Cypress species. Journal of Applied Ecology 50(4): 929-938.
    • Rodriguez-Buritica, S. H. Raichle, T. Birt, R. Webb, R. Turner, E. Pierson, and L. Venable. 2013. Population dynamics of Sonoran Desert saguaro cactus (Carnegiea gigantea) at Desert Laboratory (Tucson, Arizona). Ecology 94:1660. Ecological Archives E094-151.
    • Rodriguez-Buritica, S. H. Raichle, R. Webb, R. Turner and L. Venable. 2013. 106 years of population and community dynamics of Sonoran Desert perennials at the Desert Laboratory (Tucson, Arizona). Ecology 94:976. Ecological Archives E094-083.
    • Rodriguez-Buritica, S. and Miriti, M. 2009. Biting the hand that feeds: The invasive grass Schismus barbatus (Poaceae) is facilitated by, but reduces establishment of the native shrub, Ambrosia dumosa (Asteraceae). Journal of Vegetation Science 20(2): 241-250.
    • Miriti, M., Rodriguez-Buritica, S., Wright, J.S., and Howe, H.F. 2007. Episodic death across species of desert shrubs. Ecology 88(1): 32-36.
    • Rodriguez-Buritica, S., M.A. Orjuela R., and Gloria Galeano G. 2005. Demography and life history of Geonoma orbignyana: an understory palm used as foliage in Colombia. Forest Ecology and Management 211: 329-340.
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