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Rafael Medina

Rafael Medina

Assistant Professor of Biology

Personal website

I am a botanist interested in the exploration, description, and conservation of biodiversity, my own research is focused on bryophytes (mosses and allies).

I earned my Ph.D. at Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Spain) working on the delimitation of new species within the genus Orthotrichum using a combined approach of classical taxonomy and molecular phylogenetics.

During my postdoctoral experience at the University of Connecticut, I used next generation sequencing to clarify the evolutionary history of the family Funariaceae and trained several students in their early research experiences.

Science communication is another of my drives. I am associate editor of Principia, a popular science website and journal in Spanish. This project is possible thanks to a multidisciplinary team of scientists and creatives that integrate rigorous texts with original artwork.

At Augustana, my objectives are to develop in my students an understanding and appreciation for biodiversity and a citizen responsibility for environmental issues. I work with them to exercise their critical thinking and a scientific worldview.

Currently, I am interested in the role and consequences of genome duplications in the emergence of new species. This project will use living cultures of mosses as models. I am also interested in the moss flora of the Driftless Area and the digitization and imaging of the herbarium of Augustana.

Specializations: Botany, Bryophytes, Taxonomy, Phylogenetics, Phylogenomics


  • B. Sc. M.Sc. Ph.D. Universidad Autónoma de Madrid