Plant Diversity and Evolution Lab
Dr. Julissa Roncal
Dept. of Biology, Memorial University of Newfoundland
232 Elizabeth Avenue, St. John's NL A1B3X9 Canada
Office SN 4102, Lab SN 4096 - SN4097
Lab Phone: (709) 864 2093
Ph.D. Biology 2005. Florida International University, Miami, FL, U.S.A.
Lic. Biology 1999. International Potato Center and Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Lima, Peru.
BSc Biology 1997. Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Lima, Peru
Dr. Roncal completed her Baccalaureate and Licenciature degrees in Biology at Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia and the International Potato Center in Lima Peru. She then moved to Miami, U.S.A. to pursue her PhD in Biology at Florida International University. She worked as a Plant Ecologist at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden U.S.A. until 2007 and as a post-doc at Aarhus University in Denmark until 2009. Dr. Roncal obtained a Marie Curie Intraeuropean Fellowship award to conduct research at the Institut de Recherche pour le Developpement in France until 2012. She has joined our department in May 2013.
Dr. Roncal's research focuses on understanding the patterns and processes underlying the evolution of the high plant species richness in tropical America. To achieve this goal she uses fossil-calibrated molecular phylogenies, species distributions, phylogenetic comparative methods and biogeographic modeling. She has used species-level phylogenies within the palm family (Arecaceae) as case studies to address numerous questions in systematics, on the biogeographical history of south, central America and the Caribbean, and to analyse the phylogenetic use of morphological characters. These phylogenies have been used in combination with species distribution data to address the time-for-speciation effect and the role of in-situ speciation on plant community composition in tropical America. She has collected plants for her projects in Peru, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, French Guiana, Puerto Rico and continental U.S.A. Recently, through the use of phylogeography and geological data she is testing for evidence of allopatric speciation in the Western Amazon using a palm species complex. Moreover, she is exploring the use of the tranpositional activity of retroelements to provide insight on the evolution of native coffee species in Madagascar. She collaborates with professors and researchers in the U.S.A., Denmark, France, UK, Colombia and Peru.