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Nishanta ‘Nishi’ Rajakaruna

Associate Professor Nishanta “Nishi” Rajakaruna

Nishanta “Nishi” Rajakaruna, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Adjunct Associate Professor, Biological Sciences,
San Jose State University


Office: 33-xxx
Phone: 805.756.2788
Fax: 805.756.1419

Dr Rajakaruna is presently a Fulbright Scholar at the Institute of Fundamental Studies, Kandy, Sri Lanka, and will join the Department in Fall 2017.

Personal website


B.A. (Human Ecology, emphasis Botany), College of the Atlantic, ME
M.Sc. (Botany), University of British Columbia, Canada
Ph.D. (Botany), University of British Columbia, Canada
Postdoc (Plant Ecology), Stanford University, CA

Research Interests

Plants growing on ‘extreme’ substrates (serpentinite, limestone, mine tailings, guano, etc.) are model organisms for the study of ecology and evolution. My primary research focuses on using such plants and their habitats to explore questions on the role ecology plays in the evolution of individual plant species and the assembly of plant communities.

I am also interested in the effects of heavy metal contamination on plants and other biota, specifically research relating to metal transfer from contaminated soil via plants to other biota. Related areas of research include 1) phytoremediation, the use of plants to clean up metal contaminated soil, and 2) the impacts of atmospheric deposition of metals and nutrients on native and invasive plant interactions. Additional interests include tropical plant ecology & conservation and ethnobotany.

Advising Interests

  • Geobotany
  • Plant evolutionary ecology
  • Plant conservation 
  • Phytoremediation
  • Ethnobotany


Offsite link to selected publications


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