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Death of Núria Garcia-Jacas, Research Scientist at the Botanic Institute of Barcelona

Núria Garcia-Jacas (1961-2023), Research Scientist at the Botanic Institute of Barcelona (IBB), left us on 28 April. Born in Vilassar de Mar (Barcelona), Núria studied Biological Sciences at the University of Barcelona, where she graduated in 1986. She later obtained her PhD at the same university in 1992 with the thesis “Estudi taxonòmic i biosistemàtic de les espècies ibèriques ibèriques i nord-africanes del gènere Centaurea sect. Acrocentron”, which she carried out entirely at the IBB under the supervision of Dr. Alfonso Susanna de la Serna, who later became her husband. After her postdoctoral stay at Washington State University (USA)—in the lab of Drs. Soltis, with whom both Núria and Alfonso maintained a close friendship and also an important scientific collaboration—Núria joined the IBB, first through a series of postdoctoral contracts and, from 2001, as a CSIC Tenured Scientist. In 2009 she was promoted to the category of Research Scientist. Núria worked for many years as head of the Biodiversity Department of the IBB and also as head of the Laboratory of Molecular Systematics of the same centre and, until her death, as secretary of the Grup de Recerca en Biodiversitat i Biosistemàtica Vegetals (GReB).

Núria doing fieldwork in Jabalcón Mountain, Granada (Spain), 1989.

Núria’s postdoctoral stay laid the foundations for the establishment of the Laboratory of Molecular Systematics at the IBB, the first of its kind in Spain, which allowed the use of very new techniques at the time, such as DNA sequencing and its application to plant systematics. Núria soon specialized in the tribe Cardueae (Compositae), with special emphasis on the genus Centaurea. In addition to her work in phylogeny and taxonomy, disciplines in which she became an international reference, Núria also worked in other fields, especially in conservation genetics. She leaves us a very important scientific legacy, with more than 150 articles published in the most prestigious journals in her field, of which more than a hundred have been included in journals listed in the Science Citation Index. Special mention must be made of the chapter she wrote—together with her husband—on tribe Cardueae in the main reference works on the systematics of Compositae, The Families and Genera of Vascular Plants and Systematic, Evolution, and Biogeography of the Compositae. It is also worth mentioning her teaching activity (with the direction or co-direction of 11 doctoral theses, seven master’s degrees and four final degree projects), and her editorial activity (as editor of several journals such as Plants, Botanica Serbica or Collectanea Botanica).

Núria in the Cardó Massif, during the sampling work of Centaurea podospermifolia (December 2008).

Above all, however, it is worth highlighting the personal values that characterized Núria, a tireless worker with great tenacity. We believe it is no exaggeration to describe her as a good person, generous, conciliatory and, at the same time, endowed with an almost unusual joviality that she maintained until the end. For all these qualities, her name has been linked to a new genus described within the Cardueae tribe, Nuriaea.

Núria, wherever you are, rest in peace.


Authors: Roser Vilatersana and Jordi López-Pujol

Nomenclatural type catalogue