Visiting Assistant Professor of Biology



Office: LSP254A


B.S. Universidad de Costa Rica
M.S. Universidad de Costa Rica
Ph.D. The Pennsylvania State University


Plant Reproductive Ecology and Evolution
Evolutionary Disease Biology & Plant-pathogen interactions
Population Genetics, Molecular Ecology
Biology of Invasive Species, Conservation Biology , Tropical Biology

Grants & Awards

Directorate of Environmental Biology, National Science Foundation. Research Initiation Grant: Disease as a driver of diversification in life history, pathogenicity and reproductive strategies. August 2009-July 2014

Directorate for Biological Sciences, National Science Foundation. Post-Doctoral Minority Fellowship, Phylogenetic, ecological and life-history determinants of a globally distributed disease complex. July 2007-June 2009.


Most Recent Publications: 

Gibson*, A. K., E. Petit, J. I. Mena-Ali, B. Oxelman, and M. E. Hood. 2013.  Life-history strategy defends against disease and may select against physiological resistance. Ecology and Evolution 3: 1741–50.

Kariyat, R. R., J. I. Mena-Ali, B. Forry*, M. C. Mescher, C. M. DeMoraes and A. G. Stephenson.  2012.  Inbreeding, herbivory, and the transcriptome of Solanum carolinense. Entomologia Experimentalis Applicata 144: 134–44

Gibson*, A. K., J. I. Mena-Ali and M. E. Hood2010.  Loss of pathogens and disease resistance in threatened plant species. Oikos 119: 1919–1928.

Hood, M. E., J. I. Mena-Ali, A. K. Gibson*, B. Oxelman, T. Giraud, R. Yockyeng, M. Arroyo, F. Conti, A. Pedersen, P. Gladieux and J. Antonovics.  2010.  The worldwide occurrence of the anther-smut fungus Microbotryum violaceum on species of the Caryophyllaceae. New Phytologist 187:217-229.

Mena-Ali, J. I., L. Kessler* and A. G. Stephenson.  2009.  Evidence for sheltered load around the S-locus in Solanum carolinense. Sexual Plant Reproduction 22:63-71

Good-Avila, S., J. I. Mena-Ali and A. G. Stephenson.  2008.  Chapter 2: Genetic and Environmental Causes and Evolutionary Consequences of Variations in Self-Fertility in Self Incompatible Species, pages 33-51.  In: Self-incompatibility in Flowering Plants – Evolution, Diversity, and Mechanisms, edited by Noni Franklin-Tong (Springer-Verlag)

Mena-Ali, J. I., L. Kessler* and A. G. Stephenson. 2008.  Inbreeding depression in Solanum carolinense, a species with a plastic self-incompatibility response.  BMC Evolutionary Biology 8:10 (DOI:10.1186/1471-2148-8-10)

Mena-Ali, J. I. and A. G. Stephenson. 2007.  Segregation analyses of partial self-incompatibility in self and cross progeny of Solanum carolinense reveal a leaky S-allele. Genetics 177: 501-510

Mena-Ali, J.I. and O. J. Rocha. 2005. Selective seed abortion affects the vigor of the offspring in Bauhinia ungulata L. (Fabaceae). Annals of Botany 95: 1017-1023

Mena-Alí, J.I. and O. J. Rocha. 2005. Effect of ovule position within the pod on the patterns of seed production in Bauhinia ungulata L. (Fabaceae). Annals of Botany 95: 449–455

Travers, S. E., J. I. Mena-Alí, and A. G. Stephenson. 2004. Plasticity in the self-incompatibility of Solanum carolinense. Plant Species Biology 19:127-135

Stephenson, A.G., S.E. Travers, J.I. Mena-Alí and J.A Winsor. 2003. Pollen performance before and during the autotrophic-heterotrophic transition of pollen tube growth. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Series B 358: 1009-1018

Course Information

FND 157: History of Natural History

BIO 110: Principles of Evolution, Ecology and Heredity