Carlos Jaramillo

Surangi Punyasena

Silande F. da Silva

Surangi Punyasena


University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Department of Plant Biology
139 Morrill Hall
217 244-8049


BA, 1998, Yale University
MS, 2003, The University of Chicago
PhD, 2007, The University of Chicago

Research Interests

My research focuses on the role that climate has played in the long-term evolution of Neotropical forests, primarily through the reconstruction of paleoecological and macroevolutionary trends of individual plant clades from the fossil pollen record.

Current Research

  1. Exploring Quaternary and deep-time (pre-Quaternary) patterns of tropical plant diversity, ecology, and evolutionary change
  2. Developing and applying quantitative vegetation models of paleotemperature and paleoprecipitation
  3. Developing quantitative measures of pollen morphology.

Selected Bibliography

Punyasena, S. W., F. E. Mayle, and J. C. McElwain. 2008. Quantitative estimates of glacial and Holocene temperature and precipitation change in lowland Amazonian Bolivia. Geology 36(8):667-670.

Punyasena, S. W. 2008. Estimating Neotropical palaeotemperature and palaeoprecipitation using plant family climatic optima. Palaeogeography Palaeoclimatology Palaeoecology 265(3-4):226-237.

Punyasena, S. W., G. Eshel, and J. C. McElwain. 2008. The influence of climate on the spatial patterning of Neotropical plant families. Journal of Biogeography 35(1):117-130.

McElwain, J. C., and S. W. Punyasena. 2007. Mass extinction events and the plant fossil record. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 22(10):548-557