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Harvard University
Ph.D. in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, November 2016
Advisor: Charles Davis
PhD Thesis: Ecology and Evolution of the Ferns of Moorea and Tahiti, French Polynesia

University of Tokyo
Master of Science in Biological Sciences, March 2010
Advisor: Motomi Ito
Master’s Thesis: Reticulate evolution in the Crepidomanes minutum species complex (Hymenophyllaceae)

University of California, Berkeley
Bachelor of Arts in Integrative Biology and Japanese Language, May 2007
Advisor: Brent Mishler
Highest Honors in Integrative Biology
Highest Distinction in General Scholarship

Research and Teaching Experience

Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Postdoctoral Fellowship
November 2016 – Present
Department of Botany, National Museum of Nature and Science, Japan
Investigating reticulate evolution in ferns using next-generation DNA sequencing.

Curatorial Fellowship
January 2016 – May 2016
Harvard University Herbaria
Updated organization of pteridophytes to reflect current understanding of phylogeny.

Graduate Student Instructor
Fall 2012 and Fall 2013
Harvard University
Taught section of OEB 52, Biology of Plants.

Moorea Biocode Field Staff
June 2007 – August 2011
Moorea Biocode Project
Oversaw collection of all fern species on island of Moorea, French Polynesia. Developed guide and key to Moorean ferns.

Undergraduate Research Apprentice
January 2006 – August 2006
Undergraduate Research Apprentice Program
O’Grady Lab, Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, UC Berkeley
Conducted phylogenetic analysis of evolutionary history and biogeography of endemic Hawaiian Dicranomyia (craneflies).

Biology Tutor
January 2006 – May 2006
Student Learning Center, UC Berkeley
Tutored students in general biology and received training to lead study groups.

Honors and Awards

National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant ($13,000)
Garden Club of America Award in Tropical Botany ($5,500)
American Society of Plant Taxonomists Research Grant for Graduate Students ($850)
Systematics Association Systematics Research Fund ($2,350)
Society of Systematic Biologists Graduate Student Research Award ($1,900)
University of Tokyo Academic Research Grant, International ($1,500)
Japanese Government (Monbukagakusho: MEXT) Scholarship
Phi Beta Kappa Society
Departmental Citation, Integrative Biology, UC Berkeley
Regents and Chancellor’s Scholar, UC Berkeley


Nitta, J.H., Meyer, J.-Y., Taputuarai, R., Davis, C.C. 2017. Life cycle matters: DNA barcoding reveals contrasting community structure between fern sporophytes and gametophytes. Ecological Monographs. doi:10.1002/ecm.1246

Pinson, J.B., Chambers, S.M., Nitta, J.H., Kuo, L.Y., Sessa, E. 2017. The separation of generations: Biology and biogeography of long-lived, sporophyte-less fern gametophytes. International Journal of Plant Sciences 178 (1): 1 – 18.

Pouteau, R., Meyer, J.-Y., Blanchard, P., Nitta, J.H., Terorotua, M., Taputuarai, R. 2016. Fern species richness and abundance are indicators of climate change on high-elevation islands: Evidence from an elevational gradient on Tahiti (French Polynesia). Climatic Change 138 (1-2): 143 – 156.

Chen, C.W., Nitta, J.H., Hsu, T.C., Fanerii, M., Yang, T.Y.A., Pitisopa, F., Chang, Y.H., Li, C.W., Chiou, W.L. 2015. Antrophyum solomonense (Pteridaceae), a new species from Solomon Islands, and its systematic position based on phylogenetic analysis. Systematic Botany. 40 (3): 645-651.

Ebihara, A., Yamaoka, A., Mizukami, N., Sakoda, A., Nitta, J.H., Imaichi, R. 2013. A survey of the fern gametophyte flora of Japan: Frequent independent occurrences of noncordiform gametophytes. American Journal of Botany. 100 (4): 735-743.

Nitta, J.H., Ebihara, A., Ito, M. 2011. Reticulate evolution in the Crepidomanes minutum species complex (Hymenophyllaceae). American Journal of Botany. 98 (11): 1782 – 1800.

Nitta, J.H., Meyer, J.-Y., Smith, A.R. 2011. Pteridophytes of Mo’orea, French Polynesia: Additional New Records. American Fern Journal. 101 (1): 36 – 49.

Ebihara, A., Nitta, J.H., Ito, M. 2010. Molecular species identification with rich floristic sampling: DNA barcoding the pteridophyte flora of Japan. PloS ONE. 5 (12): e15136. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0015136

Ebihara, A., Nitta, J.H., Iwatsuki, K. 2010. The Hymenophyllaceae of the Pacific Area. 2. Hymenophyllum (excluding subgen. Hymenophyllum). Bulletin of the National Museum of Nature and Science, Series B (Botany). 36 (2): 43 – 59.

Ebihara, A., Nitta, J.H., Lorence, D., Dubuisson, J.-Y. 2009. New records of Polyphlebium borbonicum, an African filmy fern, in the New World and Polynesia. American Fern Journal. 99 (3): 200 – 206.

Nitta, J.H. and Epps, M.J. 2009. Hemi-epiphytism in Vandenboschia collariata (Hymenophyllaceae). Brittonia. 61 (4): 392 – 397.

Nitta, J.H. 2008. Exploring the utility of three plastid loci for biocoding the filmy ferns (Hymenophyllaceae) of Moorea. Taxon. 57 (3): 725 – 736.

Nitta, J.H. and O’Grady, P.M. 2008. Mitochondrial phylogeny of the endemic Hawaiian craneflies (Diptera, Limoniidae, Dicranomyia): implications for biogeography and species formation. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 46 (3): 1182 – 1190.

Conference Presentations

Nitta, J.H., Meyer, J.-Y., Taputuarai, R., Davis, C.C. 2017. タヒチ・モーレア島の シダ植物群集形成: 配偶体と胞子体の比較 (Fern community assembly on Moorea and Tahiti: comparing gametophytes and sporophytes). In Japanese. Japanese Society for Plant Systematics Conference, Kyoto, Japan.

Nitta, J.H., Watkins, J.E., Holbrook N.M., and Davis, C.C. 2015. Comparative ecophysiology of the filmy ferns (Hymenophyllaceae) of Moorea, French Polynesia. Botanical Society of America Conference, Edmonton, Canada.

Nitta, J.H., Meyer, J-Y, Taputuarai, R., and Davis, C.C. 2015. Life cycle matters: divergent patterns of community structure between fern sporophytes and gametophytes. Next Generation Pteridology Conference, Washington, DC.

Nitta, J.H. and Davis, C. 2014. Investigating the role of a cryptic life stage in fern community assembly. Plant Biology Initiative Conference, Cambridge, MA.

Nitta, J.H. and Davis, C. 2012. Investigating drivers of community assembly in the ferns of Moorea, French: Polynesia: An ecological and evolutionary approach. Plant Biology Initiative Conference, Cambridge, MA.

Nitta, J.H., Ebihara, A., Motomi, I. 2009. Uchiwa-goke kinen shugun ni okeru moujou shinka (Reticulate evolution in the Crepidomanes minutum species complex). In Japanese. Species Biology Conference, Hachioji, Japan.

Journals Reviewed

Acta Botanica Gallica, American Fern Journal, American Journal of Botany, Annals of Botany, Australian Systematic Botany, Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, Brittonia, Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, Phytotaxa, Plant Species Biology, PLoS ONE

Professional Memberships

American Fern Society, American Society of Plant Taxonomists, Society for the Study of Evolution