Javier Francisco-Ortega, Ph.D., is Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Florida International University.
Dr. Ortega holds an M.S. (1988) and Ph.D. (1992) in Biology from the University of Birmingham, United Kingdom. Before joining Florida International University in 1999, he had two postdoctoral fellowships to study plant speciation mechanisms on oceanic islands at Ohio State University (1993) and the University of Texas at Austin (1994-1996). He was a lecturer at the Universidad de La Laguna, Tenerife, Canary Islands, between 1997 and 1998. His main research interest is plant systematics with a focus on using molecular tools to establish phylogenetic relationships among taxa. He also uses "traditional" tools to address systematic questions; they include electron microscopy, morphometrics, nomenclature, and ecogeographical approaches. He also has an interest in conservation genetics; therefore many of his projects focus on endangered species. These projects use molecular markers tailored either for population genetics or for phylogenetics.
Rooted in Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden's strong tradition of and commitment to plant exploration, his studies have a strong field component and he also has a major interest in the history of plant exploration. The vast majority of his studies concern plants endemic to tropical and subtropical islands, and they are conducted in close collaboration with colleagues working on these islands. He uses DNA techniques to address evolutionary and conservation genetics questions and has worked with plants from the Canary Islands, the Galapagos Islands, the Island of Cocos (Costa Rica), and the Antilles. He has conducted research projects with graduate students, faculty and researchers from the Instituto de Ecología y Sistemática de Cuba and the Jardín Botánico Nacional de Cuba. Both institutions are located in Havana. His research is being performed in partnership with colleagues from Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden and Montgomery Botanical Center. Prof. Francisco-Ortega has conducted extensive field work in Cuba with the support of the National Geographic Society and other private Foundations. He has authored ten research papers with colleagues from Cuba. Most of his graduate students have carried out studies with Cuban plants.
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