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Abstract Detail

Systematics Section

Tripp, Erin A. [1], McDade, Lucinda [2], Binti, Siti Fatimah [1].

Preliminary analysis of phylogenetic relationships within Ruellieae (Acanthaceae).

The Ruellieae (ca. 48 genera/1,000 species) form a pantropical lineage in Acanthaceae that is rich in both diversity and pollination systems yet poorly known from a broad-scale phylogenetic perspective. A newly initiated project aims to build a robust and densely sampled phylogeny of Ruellieae. With this phylogeny, the evolution of multiple morphological traits that are important to (A) Acanthaceae systematics and (B) plant- pollinator interactions is being reconstructed. Data from (A) are being used to explore synapomorphies, re-define genera in Ruellieae, and produce estimates of standing taxonomic and phylogenetic diversity. Data from (B) are being used to investigate correlates of clade size asymmetries and to test the hypothesis that plant lineages pollinated by hummingbirds have increased speciation rates relative to lineages with other pollination systems, e. g., insect or Old World bird pollination. This presentation is intended to be the first in a series to explore the lineage from a broad scale. Molecular phylogenetics, character evolution, and diversification analyses will, in the end, be summarized to chronicle the evolution of Ruellieae. This study will open new doors to cross-family comparative analyses in Acanthaceae.

Broader Impacts:
Upon completion of the proposed project, we will have built a global consortium of colleagues, students, conservationists, and laypersons who are interested in learning from and protecting the outstanding diversity in Ruellieae. In addition to teaching a minimum of two US students about molecular systematics, traditional taxonomy, and nomenclature, we will train botanists and students from Ethiopia, Namibia, Tanzania, Cameroon, Madagascar, and China in our field and herbarium studies. Thus, our research encourages participation by diverse and underrepresented people including women in the natural sciences. The project will also strengthen relationships among US and international scientists who study Acanthaceae as well as forge new collaborations. Data will be widely disseminated through timely publications, conference presentations, visits to national and international institutions, and the existing (Tree of Life) plus a newly proposed online repository. We believe that knowledge of biodiversity is of paramount importance to everyone. Thus, the new resource will be designed to be of broad interest (i.e., not exclusive to academics) to conservationists, policy-makers, and horticulturists and will contain a working list of species diversity in Ruellieae for the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation of the UNís Convention on Biological Diversity. Finally, because this research will further our own understanding of systematics and evolution, it improves our ability as biologists to teach the general public about the importance of a fact-based education in science.

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Related Links:
Tree of Life

1 - Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, 1500 N. College Ave., Claremont, CA, 91711, USA
2 - Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, 1500 North College Avenue, Claremont, California, 91711, USA


Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Sections
Session: 50
Location: 555A/Convention Center
Date: Wednesday, August 4th, 2010
Time: 8:00 AM
Number: 50001
Abstract ID:28

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