Dr. Rocio Deanna
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
University of Colorado, Boulder
YouTube channel: Rocio Deanna
I'm deeply interested in the tomato family, Solanaceae, since the start of my Ph.D. This group of almost 3,000 species includes not only the tomato, but also potato, tobacco, peppers, a lot of ornamental species, and more plants of economical or medicinal importance. I started working on phylogenetics, taxonomy, and cytogenetics of a small group of physaloids called Deprea, and I expanded during a first postdoc to the evolution of the entire tribe Physalideae, which includes the famous tomatillo (genus Physalis). I have also worked on nomenclature, cytogenetics, and taxonomy of Iochrominae and Physalis, as well evolution and cytogenetics of some groups of ferns. Currently, I shifted a bit to paleobotany and the evolution of the entire family, seeking to infer the divergence times using morphological information of extinct and extant taxa, as well as sequence data for almost 2,000 nightshades.
How Rocio got interested in the botanical sciences:
Growing up on a farm in Argentina, I fell in love with nature. Animals are so popular, and I have to admit that, firstly, I was deeply interested in insects. But what about plants? They have always been there, as part of the background. But do we know how important they are for life on our planet? How far ago have they originated? What mysteries do they hide? All these questions and more pushed me to become a botanist.
Rocio’s advice for those just starting their botanical journey:
"Plants are everywhere and, although less popular, remember that the fact they don't move is a good advantage for the ones who want to study them. Enjoy botany!"
I love hiking and photography. I'm also interested in TikTok, mostly in bird videos since traveling has become unpopular during this time. And of course, I enjoy good books and horror series/movies.
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