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Tribe Rhynchosporeae (ca. 386 spp.; Cyperaceae) has high levels of endemicity (? 44%) in tropical and subtropical American savannas and can provide insights into the diversification of their biotas. Wind pollination, occupation of a savanna habitat, and a C3 photosynthetic pathway are common in the tribe, but showy (presumably insect-pollinated) inflorescences, occupation of forest habitat, and a C4 pathway also occur. We reconstructed a dated phylogenetic hypothesis for 79 taxa, inferring a mean crown-group age of 56 million years. Fitch parsimony infers the most recent common ancestor to have occupied a savanna habitat with eight or more shifts to forest. Features associated with insect pollination-white bracts and spikelets–were shown to evolve six or more times but were not correlated with the shifts to forest habitat. We found evolutionary correlations in the pairwise comparisons of bract color versus spikelet color and bract positioning versus bract color. Members with anatomies associated with C4, photosynthesis though anatomically variable, form a clade with a crown age of 19 million years.Click the "Page Previews" tab for a list of other paper titles available.
Ever since his childhood in Southeast Asia, William Wayt Thomas has been interested in the natural history of tropical forests. Although he focussed on things that move when he was young, he began to appreciate that plants provide the framework for all other life in a forest. He attended the University of North Carolina and received his Ph.D. in Botany from the University of Michigan in 1982. Dr. Thomas is the Elizabeth G. Britton Curator of Botany at The New York Botanical Garden and is also the Executive Director of the Organization for Flora Neotropica. He studies the plant diversity and conservation of the Atlantic coastal forests of northeastern Brazil, especially the forests of the state of Bahia. He is fascinated with species distributions, endemism, and the dynamics of rarity. Thomas also studies the evolution and systematics of the sedge family (Cyperaceae) 111 tropical America, especially the beak-rushes (Rhynchospora). William Wayt Thomas's Author Page
Christopher E. Buddenhagen Chris Buddenhagen is a post- doctoral researcher in the Plant Pathology Department at the University of Florida CV. He completed his PhD with Austin Mast at Florida State University in 2016. He also spent a few years working as a curator in the herbarium at FSU. A major goal of his work has been to inform and influence management and policy with respect to biosecurity, biodiversity (including systematics and evolution), and natural resources. His doctoral research has focused on beaksedge systematics (Rhynchospora) using anchored phylogenomics. Previously his work focused on invasive plants, animal impacts and lately the spread of plant pathogens. Prior to completing his doctorate, he gained deep experience in non-academic roles that focused on biosecurity issues related to invasive plant and animal policy and management in New Zealand, Galapagos and Hawaii. Currently his research is being carried out in Professor Karen Garrett's lab. This examines plant epidemiology, disease incidence, and food security within a project about roots, tubers and bananas. Collaborators work in Asia, Africa and South America in the CGIAR research consortium. These crops are all subject to "seed degeneration" whereby yields are reduced by the accumulation of pathogens (often these are viruses) over successive plantings of vegetative planting material (and farmer to farmer spread through "seed systems"). Here they take a system's approach that involves analyses of multi-layered networks based on social, economic and biological data. Various disease scenarios involving movement of plants, and pathogens lend themselves to this kind of data analysis. Christopher E Buddenhagen,'s Author Page
Austin Mast is a Professor in the Department of Biological Science at Florida State University and Director of FSU's Robert K. Godfrey Herbarium. His research focuses on (1) the interplay of ecology and evolution that determines the form and function of plant life on Earth, (2) the use of biodiversity research specimens and digital information about them to bring that interplay into sharper focus, and (3) public engagement in the research to further science and STEM literacy goals. He enjoys living in the Florida Panhandle-one of North America's biotic hotspots, and a great place to kayak, trail run, camp, and swim. Austin R. Mast's Author Page