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Jacob Suissa

Visiting Assistant Professor

headshot of Jacob Suissa, standing in a park, arms crossed, with pine trees behind him, and a path bordering with a gravel road

I am a plant evolutionary biologist exploring the origin, function, and maintenance, of plant biodiversity. I completed bachelors in Botany at The University of Vermont and then went on to my PhD in Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University. At Pratt, I co-teach Field Ecology, with a particular focus on plants as organisms. In addition to university-teaching, I run an educational non-profit, focused on combating the climate and biodiversity crises through botanical education. I believe that science should be accessible to everyone and that being an active member of the community is important in creating an inclusive and equitable space. I broadly hope to share knowledge with the public and inspire the next generation of students by modeling unbridled excitement and curiosity, as well as welcoming everyone to explore with me!

PhD, 2022, Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University

12. Suissa, J. S., Agbleke, A. A., and Friedman, W.E. (2023) A bump in the node: the hydraulic implications of

rhizomatous growth. American Journal of Botany.

11. Suissa, J. S., Preisler, Y., Watkins, J.E., and McCulloch, L.A. (2022). Vulnerability Segmentation in Ferns

and Its Impolications on Their Survival During Drought. American Fern Journal. 112(4), 336–353. 10. Suissa, J.S., and Friedman, W.E. Rapid diversification of vascular architecture characterized the

Carboniferous fern radiation. (2022). Proceedings of the Royal Society B. 289(1973), 20212209

9. Suissa, J.S. Fern fronds that move like pine cones: advanced humidity-driven motion in fertile leaflets of a

widespread fern species. (2022). Annals of Botany. 129(5), 519-528

8. Suissa, J. S., Sylvia P. Kinosian, Peter W. Schafran, Jay Bolin, W. Carl Taylor, Elizabeth A. Zimmer. (2021). Homoploid hybrids, allopolyploids, and high ploidy levels characterize the evolutionary history of a western North American quillwort (Isoëtes) complex. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution.

7. Suissa, J.S., and Friedman, W.E. (2021). From cells to stems: the effects of primary vascular construction on drought-induced embolism resistance in fern rhizomes. New Phytologist. 232(6), 2238-2253.

6. Suissa, J. S., Sundue, M. A., Testo, W. L. (2021). Mountains, Climate and Niche Heterogeneity Explain Global Patterns of Fern Diversity. Journal of Biogeography. 48(6), 1296–1308.

5. Suissa, J. S., Sundue, M. A. (2021).

4. Suissa, J.S. (2020). Polycyclic solenostele, a new synapomorphy for Pteris sect. Litobrochia. American Fern


3. Suissa, J. S., and Green, W. A. (2020). CO2 starvation experiments provide support for the carbon-limited

richness and endemism. American Fern Journal. 110(4), 211

Journal. 110(3), 127–138.

Diversity patterns of neotropical ferns: Revisiting Tryon’s centers of

hypothesis on the evolution of CAM-like photosynthesis in Isoëtes. Annals of Botany. 127(1), 135–141.

2. Kinosian, S. P., and Suissa, J.S. (2020). The mothers of Pteridology. American Fern Journal. 110(1), 3–19.

  1. Suissa, J. S., and Barton, K.E. (2018). Intraspecific and interspecific variation in prickly poppy resistance to non-native generalist caterpillars. Botanical Sciences. 96(2), 168–179.