Javier Francisco Ortega's main research interest is plant systematics with a focus on using molecular methods to establish phylogenetic relationships among taxa. However, he also uses "traditional" tools to address questions in this area; they include electron microscopy, morphometrics, anatomy, secondary metabolism products, nomenclature, and biogeography. He has an interest in conservation; therefore many of his projects focus on threatened species. Many of these projects use molecular markers tailored either for population genetics (microsatellites) or for phylogenetics (nucleotide sequences). He an appointment at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. Rooted in the strong tradition and commitment of this garden 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 my studies concern plants endemic to tropical and subtropical islands, and they are conducted in close collaboration with colleagues working on these islands. Finally, his research studies make extensive use of the unique living collections of tropical plants found at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. All of his studies are made in collaboration with colleagues from USA and other countries. His main national partners are botanists from Montgomery Botanical Center and USDA (Miami Station at Chapman Field).
As an educator and plant researcher, he believes 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 his graduate students and provides 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 his laboratory are rooted in our community. He teaches undergraduate courses both in FIU and in the Garden.
plant systematics with a focus on using molecular methods to establish phylogenetic relationships among taxa