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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Department of Paleobiology

  • Jorge A. Santiago-Blay
  • Resident Research Associate
  • Phone:   202-633-1383
  • Fax:   202-786-2832
  • E-mail Address:   blayj
  • Mailing Address:
    Smithsonian Institution
    PO Box 37012, MRC 121
    Washington, DC 20013-7012
  • Shipping Address:
    Smithsonian Institution
    National Museum of Natural History
    10th & Constitution NW
    Washington, DC 20560-0121

My social media websites and account links:     Facebook     LinkedIn       Tumblr       Twitter


Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley. Entomological Sciences. 1990
M.A. University of California, Berkeley. Botany. December 1989.
M.S. University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras. Biology. 1985.
B.S. University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras. Biology. 1979. Minors: Mathematics and Education. Magna cum Laude.

Research Interests

The main focus of my research seeks to provide answers to this question: What processes cause and what patterns correlate with speciation and biodiversity? Because my training, experience, and interests are multidisciplinary, I seek answers from numerous areas of biology, including paleobiology, ecology, behavior, development, genetics, molecular biology, biochemistry, and others using different biological systems. Therefore, I can comfortably accommodate those who wish to do research with me on a wide variety of topics of mutual interest particularly, but not exclusively, arthropods and plants.

I have had the pleasure of collaborating with numerous people engaged in research projects. These projects include subjects as diverse as: plant developmental genetics, insect cytogenetics, aquatic ecology, reconstruction of ancient communities preserved in the fossil record, forensic ecology, environmental ethics, biological illustration, biology education, and many others. In collaboration with each person, some of them students, research initiatives are written and reviewed. Hence, competitive grant proposals may be submitted and progress reports presented at professional meetings. Some have received funding to pursue their research projects. As a result of their increasing intellectual independence and long-term productivity, I have more time to pursue other research interests (as seen here, on page 25.).  Below, I briefly summarize some of my research interests, in no particular order.

Paleobiology. The natural history, biogeography, and ecology of ancient communities. For instance, the study of two North American Jurassic assemblages preserved in lithographic limestone and seemingly dominated by insects suggests that it is ecologically and biogeographically closer to its penecontemporaneous counterparts in Asia and not those described for Meso- and South America. Also, there are great differences in the botanical composition between these two North American Jurassic paleocommunities. We have conducted similar research on ancient communities preserved in amber collected in different parts of the world.

Plant exudate chemistry. Our ultimate goal is to generate widely available databases of C-13 (carbon-13 isotope) solid state nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and H-1 (proton) NMR signatures of plant exudates of the world. With a larger database, we will have greater ability to: 1) identify the botanical origin of modern and fossil exudates (e.g. amber), 2) make specific statements about the systematics and evolution of some exudate-producing plant groups (e.g. Fabaceae), and 3) understand paleoenvironments and paleoclimates entombed in fossil exudates during different intervals in Earth's history.

Aquatic Ecology. I am especially interested in documenting stream biodiversity and ascertaining the water quality therein. In a 13 month-long study done with undergraduates, we showed a discrete gap in the relative composition of biodiversity along Snyder's Branch Creek (Salem, VA). The nature of this gap suggested the presence of an organic pollution source. Furthermore, we documented a large biodiversity of aquatic macroinvertebrates, including over 50 species of larval chironomids.

Sexual Selection and Evolution. What makes Drosophila melanogaster females choose conspecific males? The answer to that question involves many sensory channels whereby females obtain information about the conspecificity and possibly "quality" of courting males. We have shown that while female D. melanogaster prefer fully winged over wingless males, they cannot discriminate between fully winged males and males with over one complete wing and three-quarters, or more, of another wing.

Molecular identification and phylogenetics of arthropods. Our investigations have confirmed the usefulness of molecular markers for the rapid and reliable identification of agriculturally, silviculturally, and medically important insects, including the agriculturally-beneficial parasitic wasps, Trichogramma, the cone-feeding beetles, Conophthorus, and the blood sucking sand fly Lutzomyia. For years, several colleagues and I have been working on the large Puerto Rican arboreal millipedes Anadenobolus arboreus.

Insect-plant interactions: a case of possible coevolution between species of North American Monoxia beetles (Chrysomelidae) and their host plants. Monoxia is especially interesting because most of its species groups feed on selected host plant genera placed in very divergent plant families, the Asteraceae, the daisies, and the Chenopodiaceae, the plants in the spinach family. By doing field and laboratory work, I have found congruent patterns of host plant association, cytogenetics, and morphology.

For additional information, please feel free to visit my personal website

Current Editorial Service

  • Editor-in-Chief, Life: The Excitement of Biology
  • Scientific Co-Editor, Research on Chrysomelidae
  • Associate Editor, Journal of Agriculture of the University of Puerto Rico

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Lambert, Joseph B., Donnelly, Eric W., Heckenbach, Eric A., Johnson, Connor L., Kozminski, Michael A., Wu, Yuyang and Santiago-Blay, Jorge A. 2013. Molecular classification of the natural exudates of the rosids, Phytochemistry, 94:171-183

Azar, Dany, Engel, Michael S., Santiago-Blay, Jorge, Krogmann, Lars, Jarzembowski, Edmund and Nel, André. 2013. Selected papers from the 6th International Congress on Fossil Insects, Arthropods and Amber Byblos, Lebanon,14-18 April 2013, Terrestrial Arthropod Reviews, 6(1-2):1-9

Wozniak, Robert H. and Santiago-Blay, Jorge. 2013. Trouble at Tyson Alley: James Mark Baldwin's Arrest in a Baltimore Bordello, History of Psychology, 16(4):227-248

Azar, Dany, Engel, Michael, Jarzembowski, Edmund, Krogmann, L., Nel, A. and Santiago-Blay, Jorge. 2013. Insect Evolution in an Amberiferous and Stone Alphabet. Brill

Santiago-Blay, Jorge A., Jolivet, Pierre and Verma, Krishna K. 2012. A natural history of conspecific aggregations in terrestrial arthropods, with emphasis on cycloalexy in leaf beetles (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae), Terrestrial Arthropod Reviews, 5(3-4):289-355

Lang, Harry G. and Santiago-Blay, Jorge A. 2012. Contributions of deaf people to entomology: A hidden legacy, Terrestrial Arthropod Reviews, 5(2012):223-268

Lambert, Joseph B., Tsai, C. Y. H., Shah, M. C., Hurtley, A. E. and Santiago-Blay, Jorge A. 2012. Distinguishing amber classes by proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy, Archaeometry, 54(2):332-348

Santiago-Blay, Jorge A., Lambert, Joseph B. and Creasman, P. P. 2011. Expanded Application of Dendrochronology Collections: Collect and Save Exudates, Tree-Ring Research, 67(1):67-68

Jolivet, Pierre, Santiago-Blay, Jorge A. and Schmitt, Michael. 2011. Research on Chrysomelidae.Sofia, Bulgaria: Pensoft

Santiago-Blay, Jorge A. 2010. Atlas of biodiversity risk, Terrestrial Arthropod Reviews, 3(2):161-162

Santiago-Blay, Jorge A., Lambert, Joseph B. and Pagán-Jiménez, Jaime R. 2010. Use of plant exudates by humans. Request for samples, The SAA Archaeological Record, 10(4):57

Santiago-Blay, Jorge A., Wilson, B. C. and Taylor, C. E. 2010. "Biodiversity of Chironomidae larvae (Diptera) and Oligochaeta (Annelida) in Snyder’s Branch Creek (Salem, Virginia, United States of America): Testing for ecological discontinuities". Pp. 156-167 in Proceedings of the XV International Symposium on Chironomidae, 12-14 August 2003 (Ferrington, Jr,L.C.). The University of Minnesota

Santiago-Blay, Jorge A. and Lambert, Joseph B. 2010. Desert plants and their exudates, Desert Plants, 26(1):3-8

Santiago-Blay, Jorge A. and Lambert, Joseph B. 2010. Legumes and their exudates, Aridus, 22(1):1-6

Lambert, Joseph B., Heckenbach, Eric A., Wu, Yuyang and Santiago-Blay, Jorge A. 2010. Characterization of Plant Exudates by Principal-Component and Cluster Analyses with Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Variables, Journal of Natural Products, 73(10):1643-1648

Lambert, Joseph B., Heckenbach, Eric A., Hurtley, Anna E., Wu, Yuyang and Santiago-Blay, Jorge A. 2009. Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopic Characterization of Legume Exudates, Journal of Natural Products, 72(6):1028-1035

Jolivet, Pierre, Santiago-Blay, Jorge A. and Schmitt, Michael. 2009. Research on Chrysomelidae.Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill

Ren, Dong, Labandeira, Conrad C., Santiago-Blay, Jorge A., Rasnitsyn, Alexandr, Shih, ChungKun, Bashkuev, Alexei, Logan, M. Amelia V., Hotton, Carol L. and Dilcher, David. 2009. A probable pollination mode before angiosperms: Eurasian, long-proboscid scorpionflies, Science, 326(5954):840-847

McCafferty, W. P. and Santiago-Blay, Jorge A. 2009. A new Cretaceous mayfly fossil from Burmese amber (Ephemeroptera: Australiphemeridae), Entomological news, 119(5):492-496

Santiago-Blay, Jorge A. 2009. Systematics and some aspects of the biology of the scorpions (Arachnida) of the Greater Puerto Rico Region: A biosystematic synopsis, Entomological news, 120(1):109-124

Jolivet, Pierre, Santiago-Blay, Jorge A. and Schmitt, Michael. 2008. Research on Chrysomelidae.Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill

Lambert, Joseph B., Santiago-Blay, Jorge A. and Anderson, Ken B.,. 2008. Chemical Signatures of Fossilized Resins and Recent Plant Exudates, Angewandte Chemie International Edition, 47(50):9608-9616

Segarra-Carmona, Alejandro E., Santiago-Blay, Jorge A. and Escudero, Jaime. 2008. Nillo Eelis Virkki, Cytogeneticist: In Memoriam (1924-2005), Journal of Agriculture of the University of Puerto Rico, 92(3-4):245-256

Santiago-Blay, Jorge A., Ratcliffe, B. C., Krell, F. and Anderson, R. 2008. Allotypes should be from the type series: a position paper for reinstating Recommendation 72A from the third edition of the Code that defines the term allotype, Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature, 65(4):260-264

Santiago-Blay, Jorge A. 2008. Lubricating jelly helps improve image clarity of inclusions entombed in amber and copal, Annales de la Societe Entomologique de France, 44(2):209-210

Ferrington, L. C.,Jr., Masteller, E. C. and Santiago-Blay, Jorge A. 2008. Comparison and significance of Chironomidae emergence from Lake Erie and Presque Isle Bay, Erie, Pennsylvania, U. S. A., Boletim do Museu Municipal do Funchal (História Natural), 13:21-28

Lambert, Joseph B., Kozminski, Michael A., Fahlstrom, Carl A. and Santiago-Blay, Jorge A. 2007. Proton nuclear magnetic resonance characterization of resins from the family Pinaceae, Journal of Natural Products, 70(2):188-195

Santiago-Blay, Jorge A. and Lambert, Joseph B. 2007. Ambers Botanical Origins Revealed, American Scientist, 95:150-157

Lambert, Joseph B., Wu, Y. Y., Kozminski, M. A. and Santiago-Blay, Jorge A. 2007. Characterization of eucalyptus and chemically related exudates by nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, Australian Journal of Chemistry, 60(11):862-870

Santiago-Blay, Jorge A. and Lambert, Joseph B. 2007. Aux sources de lambre, Pour La Science, 356:70-75

Lambert, Joseph B., Kozminski, Michael A. and Santiago-Blay, Jorge A. 2007. Distinctions among conifer exudates by proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy, Journal of Natural Products, 70(8):1283-1294

Santiago-Blay, Jorge A., Anderson, S. R. and Buckley, R. T. 2006. Possible implications of two new angiosperm flowers from Burmese amber (Lower Cretaceous) for well-established and diversified insect-plant interactions, Entomological news, 116(5):341-346

Baptista, C., Santiago-Blay, Jorge A., Soleglad, M. E. and Fet, V. 2006. The Cretaceous scorpion genus, Archaeobuthus, revisited (Scorpiones: Archaeobuthidae), Euscorpius, 35:1-40

Santiago-Blay, Jorge A. 2006. Obituary - Niilo Virvjo, Entomological news, 117(4):422-422

Lambert, J. B. Y. W. and Santiago-Blay, Jorge A. 2005. Taxonomic and chemical relationships revealed by nuclear magnetic resonance spectra of plant exudates, Journal of Natural Products, 68(5):635-648

Santiago-Blay, Jorge A. 2004. "Leaf-mining chrysomelids". Pp. 305-306 in New developments in the biology of Chrysomelidae (Jolivet, Pierre, Santiago-Blay, Jorge A. and Schmitt, Michael). SPB Academic Publishers

Santiago-Blay, Jorge A. 2004. Description of seven new species of Janbechynea (Orsodacnidae or Chrysomelidae, Sensu lato) from Mexico: Availability of new names and corrections, Entomological news, 115(2):108-112

Jolivet, P., Santiago-Blay, Jorge A. and Schmitt, M. 2004. "Foreword". Pp. ixx-ixx in New developments in the biology of Chrysomelidae (Jolivet, P., Santiago-Blay, Jorge A. and Schmitt, M.). SPB Academic Publishers bv

Anderson, S. A., Craig, P. R. and Santiago-Blay, Jorge A. 2004. "Fossil insects on the web, with emphasis on chrysomelids and remarks on the recognition of fossil fakes". Pp. 259-261 in New developments in the biology of Chrysomelidae (Jolivet, P., Santiago-Blay, Jorge A. and Schmitt, M.). SPB Academic Publishers bv

Jolivet, P., Santiago-Blay, Jorge A. and Schmitt, M. 2004. "Epilogue". Pp. 779-781 in New developments in the biology of Chrysomelidae (Jolivet, P., Santiago-Blay, Jorge A. and Schmitt, M.). SPB Academic Publishers bv

Santiago-Blay, Jorge A. 2004. Fossil Revolution. The finds that changed our views of the past, Entomological news, 115(2):Back

Santiago-Blay, Jorge A. 2004. Early American Naturalists. Exploring the American West, 1804-1900, Entomological news, 115(1):58

Santiago-Blay, Jorge A., Fet, V., Soleglad, M. E. and Anderson, S. 2004. A new genus and subfamily of scorpions from Cretaceous Burmese amber (Scorpiones: Chaerilidae), Revista Ibérica de Aracnología, 9(1):3-14

Santiago-Blay, Jorge A., Fet, V., Soleglad, M. E. and Craig, P. R. 2004. The second Cretaceous scorpion specimen from Burmese amber (Arachnida: Scorpiones), Journal of Systematic Palaeontology, 2(2):147-152

Santiago-Blay, Jorge, Soleglad, M. E. and Fet, V. 2004. A redescription and family placement of Uintascorpio Perry, 1995 from the Parachute Creek Member of the Green River Formation (Middle Eocene) of Colorado, USA (Scorpiones: Buthidae), Revista Iberica de Aracnologia, 10:7-16

Cabrera-Asencio, I., Santiago-Blay, Jorge A. and Velez, A. L. 2003. Epitragus aurulentus (Kirsch) (Coleoptera : Tenebrionidae): A new record and report for Puerto Rico, Journal of Agriculture of the University of Puerto Rico, 87(3-4):161-164

Santiago-Blay, Jorge A. 2003. Acknowledgments to reviewers of articles published in Entomological News (volume 114) and to volunteers, Entomological news, 114(5):294-297

Santiago-Blay, Jorge A., Hoffman, R. L., Lambert, Joseph B. and Wu, Y. 2003. Cylindroiulus truncorum (Silvestri): a new milliped for Virginia (U.S.A.), with natural history observations (Julida: Julidae), Banisteria, 20:62-66

Santiago-Blay, Jorge A., Alvarez-Ruiz, M., Diaz-Soltero, H., Medina-Gaud, S., Rosado-Alberio, J., Velez, M. J.,Jr. and Woodbury, L. 2003. Roy Orlo Woodbury 1913 2002: An extraordinary field biologist, Caribbean Journal of Science, 39(1):1-10

Santiago-Blay, Jorge A. and Shaffer, S. C. 2003. The passionate observer. Writings from the world of nature, Entomological news, 114(5):288

Guthrie, L. H. and Santiago-Blay, Jorge A. 2003. Insects Revealed: Monsters or Marvels, Entomological news, 114(1):60

Kenney, K. A., Galvagna, C. G. and Santiago-Blay, Jorge A. 2003. Eugene Murray-Aaron: forgotten first Editor of Entomological News, Entomological news, 114(1):1

Santiago-Blay, Jorge A. 2003. Natural enemies. Introduction to biological control, Entomological news, 114(2):120

Pohl, K. A., Therrell, M. D., Santiago-Blay, Jorge A., Ayotte, N., Cabrera Herná­ndez, J. J., Diaz Castro, S., Cornejo Oviedo, E., Elvir, J. A., Gonzá­les Elizondo, M., Opland, D., Park, J., Pederson, G., Bernal Salazar, S., Vazguez Selem, L. and Villanueva, Díaz, J. 2003. A cool season precipitation reconstruction for Saltillo, Mexico. 11th North American Dendroecological Fieldweek, Climatic Reconstruction Research Group, Mexico, August 2001, Tree-Ring Research, 59(1):11-19

Lambert, Joseph B., Wu, Y. Y. and Santiago-Blay, Jorge A. 2002. Modern and ancient resins from Africa and the Americas, Archaeological Chemistry: Materials, Methods, and Meaning, 831:64-83

Santiago-Blay, Jorge A. and Craig, P. R. 1999. "Preliminary analyses of chrysomelid paleodiversity, with a new record and a new species from Dominican amber (Early to Middle Miocene)". Pp. 17-24 in Advances in Chrysomelidae Biology (Cox, Michael L.). Backhuys Publishers

Lambert, Joseph B., Shawl, Catherine E., Poinar, Jr,George O. and Santiago-Blay, Jorge A. 1999. Classification of modern resins by solid nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, Bioorganic chemistry, 27(6):409-433