Hi! My name is Joel A. Mercado-Diaz. I am a PhD. student at the Committee on Evolutionary Biology (CEB) of the University of Chicago. Although my formal academic background is in environmental sciences and ecology, I am proud to consider myself a self-taught lichenologist and plant biologist. My research interests encompass a broad range of topics. These include phylogenetics, systematics and ecology of lichens and other plants in Puerto Rico as well as the ecology of plant communities in Arctic tundra ecosystems. I am also interested in topics related to history of botany and lichenology and the conservation of forests in the Caribbean. During my MSc. I studied recent shifts in the composition and structure of tundra vegetation in Alaska as a response to environmental and experimental changes in climate

For my PhD experience I will be combining ecological and phylogenetic approaches to study biogeographic patterns of lichens in the West Indies. 

Besides working for many years as a lichenologist/ecologist in both volunteer and non-volunteer positions, I have also worked as a GIS technician and as an associate researcher in institutions such as the Conservation Trust of Puerto Rico, the International Institute of Tropical Forestry (USFS) and the Botanical Garden Herbarium of the University of Puerto Rico (UPR).

For a copy of my Curriculum Vitae, click here.