Dr Javier Francisco-Ortega

Principal Investigator
View of Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden.

View of Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden.

About the Lab

My main research interest is plant systematics with a focus on using molecular methods to establish phylogenetic relationships among taxa.  However, I also use “traditional” tools to address questions in this area; they include electron microscopy, morphometrics, anatomy, secondary metabolism products, nomenclature, and biogeography.  I also have an interest in conservation; therefore many of my projects focus on threatened species.  Many of these projects use molecular markers  tailored either for population genetics (microsatellites) or for phylogenetics (nucleotide sequences).  I have an appointment at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. Rooted in the strong tradition and commitment of this garden to plant exploration, my studies have a strong field component and I also have a major interest in the history of plant exploration. The vast majority of my studies concern plants endemic to tropical and subtropical islands, and they are conducted in close collaboration with colleagues working on these islands.  Finally, my research studies make extensive use of the unique living collections of tropical plants found at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. All of my studies are made in collaboration with colleagues from USA and other countries. My main national partners are botanists from Montgomery Botanical Center and USDA (Miami Station at Chapman Field).

As an educator and plant researcher, I believe firmly that scientists have strong responsibilities to the community and the environment. Fairchild has solid links with my university (Florida International University, FIU). The Garden hosts and supports my graduate students and provide them with great opportunities for their research results to be shared with the general public, Garden members, and school students and teachers. The education activities of my laboratory are rooted in our community.  I teach undergraduate courses both in FIU and in the Garden.

Lab Info

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Botany, Cellular & molecular biology, Populations & communities

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