Flowering plants

Much of our work on speciation and diversity patterns focused on flowering plants. A particular interest has been why some geographical areas contain more species than others, in relation to the interaction between environmental conditions and biological traits. As well as performing global analyses of plant diversity patterns, prior work used the Cape region of South Africa as a case study for understanding the evolutionary processes behind a plant biodiversity hotspot.  Past study groups included proteas in South Africa and orchids in both South Africa and Costa Rica.

Ilana Pizer Mason collecting samples for her MSc project on character displacement in Protea species

Much of the work is in collaboration with the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew. Recent co-supervised PhDs are looking at diversification of tropical trees in Amazonia, wild relatives of cultivated yams in Africa, and pitcher plants in tropical Asia.


Schley, R.J., de la Estrella, M., Perez-Escobar, O.A., Bruneau, A., Barraclough, T., Forest, F., Klitgard, B. 2018. Is Amazonia a ‘museum’ for Neotropical trees? The evolution of the Brownea clade (Detarioideae, Leguminosae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 126:279-292.

Moreno-Letelier A., Mastretta-Yanes, A., Barraclough T.G. 2014. Late-Miocene population divergence and ecological differentiation of rare endemic Juniperus blancoi (Martínez): clues for the diversification of North American conifers. New Phytol. 203:335-347.

Kisel, Y., Moreno-Letelier, A.C., Bogarin, D., Powell, M.P., Chase, M.W., and Barraclough T.G. 2012. Testing the link between population genetic differentiation and clade diversification in Costa Rican orchids. Evolution. 66:3035-3052

Waterman R.J., Bidartondo M.I., Stofberg J., Combs J.K., Gebauer G., Savolainen V., Barraclough, T.G. and Pauw A. 2011. The effects of above and below ground mutualisms on orchid speciation and co-existence. American Naturalist. 177:E54-E68

Valente, L.M., Reeves, G., Schnitzler, J., Pizer Mason, I., Fay, M.F., Rebelo, T.G., Chase, M.W. and Barraclough T.G. 2010. Diversification of the African genus Protea in the Cape biodiversity hotspot and beyond: equal rates but different spatial scales. Evolution. 64:745-760.

Davies, T.J., Savolainen, V., Chase M.W., Goldblatt P. and Barraclough, T.G. 2005. Energy, Area and Diversification in the Species-Rich Flowering Plant Family, Iridaceae. American Naturalist. 166: 418-425

Waterman, R.J., Pauw, A, Barraclough, T.G. , Savolainen, V. 2009. Pollinators underestimated: A molecular phylogeny reveals widespread floral convergence in oil-secreting orchids (sub-tribe Coryciinae) of the Cape of South Africa. Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 51:100-110.

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