Ricardo Kriebel

PhD Candidate, City University of New York (Lehman College), New York, NY

M.S. in Biology, San Franicso State University
San Francisco, CA (2008)
Expertise: Flora of Costa Rica, Gesneriaceae, Herkogamy, Melastomataceae


    My research focuses on floristic studies of Costa Rica and adjacent areas. Through photographing and collecting specimens I help to document the occurrence of species in places where their existence is imperiled. In addition, by describing new species of plants to science, I hope to call attention to the rarity of many species.

    I study the “Princess flower” family, Melastomataceae, one of the most diverse flowering plant families in the world. This family is very important ecologically as it provides pollen for bees, which feed it to their larvae, as well as berries for birds. In addition to taxonomic and phylogenetic studies, I am interested in the evolution of reproductive strategies within the family. This has led me to an ongoing project to document the types of herkogamy (separation of sex parts in space within or between flowers) within the tribe Miconieae.

    I am also interested in producing field guides and posters to help people identify and thus get more excited about plants. I have made one field guide for the Gesneriaceae of Costa Rica, and I am working on others for the Acanthaceae and Melastomataceae of Costa Rica (see links at the bottom of publications).

    My Ph.D. dissertation consists of reconstructing the phylogeny of Conostegia, a genus of shrubs and trees, using molecular and morphological characters. Conostegia is part of the berry fruited and exclusively Neotropical tribe Miconieae of the family Melastomataceae. Most species of the genus are distributed in northern South America, Central America, and the Caribbean. Conostegia has several interesting morphological characteristics worthy of study such as sepals that are fused into a cone and that fall as a unit during flowering, as well as the presence of many stamens. In addition, Conostegia is a model group for the study of herkogamy, because at least three types of herkogamy are present in the group and some species have lost herkogamy altogether. I will be using my phylogenetic hypothesis to study the evolution of herkogamy within Conostegia. In addition, because herkogamy is proving to be useful for distinguishing clades within the whole tribe Miconieae, I will also be looking at the distribution of herkogamy in the Miconieae. I am also documenting floral variation both with SEM images and a morphometric database.

Selected Publications

Kriebel, R. & Almeda, F. 2013. Clinal variation and the decoupling of vegetative and reproductive characters in Acisanthera section Acisanthera (Melastomataceae). In press. Harvard Papers in Botany.

Kriebel, R. & F. Almeda. 2013. Two new species of Miconia (Melastomataceae: Miconieae) from the cloud forests of Panama. Phytotaxa 134 (1): 27–41.

Kriebel, R. & F. Oviedo. 2013. A new species of Miconia from the remaining primary forest at Las Cruces Biological Station in Costa Rica. Phytotaxa 126 (1): 55–60.

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