Staff Member: James Ackerman

Staff Member Information

Job Title: 
UPRRP Herbarium and Zoological Museum Director
Area of Responsibility: 
Birth Year: 
Research Discipline: 
Research Specialty: 
Recently, I have become the Director of the UPRRP Zoology Museum. We are making great strides to bring the collection up to modern standards by databasing and reorganizing the collection, curating the specimens, and upgrading the facilities. However, my primary interests rest with questions pertaining to the evolution and maintenance of orchid diversity. This journey has lead to a series of papers on the relationship between orchids and euglossine bees, the evolution and mechanisms of deception pollination, specificity in orchid-mycorrhizal associations, genetic structure of orchid populations, taxonomy of Caribbean orchids, the biogeography of the West Indies and Orchidaceae, land use history and the local distribution of native specie, and most recently the ecology of naturalized orchids. We are currently studying the reproductive biology and population dynamics of invasive, non-native orchids such as Oeceoclades maculata, Dendrobium crumenatum, Arundina graminifolia and Spathoglottis plicata, and how they may affect populations of native species. In addition, we have begun a study the invasion biology of non-native pines in Puerto Rico and pollination networks in tropical beach dune systems. The issues I address span taxonomy, evolution, ecology, conservation, and environmental science which means that virtually none of my work has been done without the collaborative efforts of my undergraduate and graduate students, and colleagues within the UPR system and elsewhere. Although my passion is directed towards the biology of orchids, I encourage my students to work on systems that create passion in their hearts. Some have studied orchids, but others have worked on quite different model systems including Bignoniaceae, Bromeliaceae, Cactaceae, Cucurbitaceae, Fabaceae, Malvaceae, Myrsinaceae, Pinaceae, Zamiaceae, karst vegetation, plant viruses, rust diseases, invasive species biology and floral fragrances, all asking a variety of ecological and evolutionary questions employing a marvelous array of approaches and tools.

Staff Member Affiliations

Name of Primary Institution: 
Name of Primary Collection: 
Additional Affiliations: 
UPRRP Herbarium

Staff Member's Contact Information

Phone Number: 
787) 764-0000 ext. 2023, 2900, 2901, 7558
Fax Number: 
(787) 764-3875
Address 1: 
Department of Biology
Address 2: 
University of Puerto Rico
Address 3: 
PO Box 23360
San Juan
Puerto Rico
Postal/Zip Code: 
Puerto Rico
  • Created: 29 December 2014 - 10:13am EST
  • Updated: 12 January 2015 - 11:02am EST