We are studying the diversity, taxonomy and evolution of the Urticaceae family of nettles.
We are developing a family-level phylogeny of the Utricaceae to provide the basis for a new, revised classification of the family and as framework for developing hypotheses about broader concepts in plant evolutionary biology. Specifically:
We are reviewing the classification and documenting the diversity of the circa 50 genera in the family with an emphasis on those paraphyletic or polyphyletic genera: Myriocarpa / Gyrotaenia, Laportea, Pouzolzia, Urera, Parietaria/ Soleirolia/ Gesnouinia, Australina/ Droguetia, Pipturus/ Nothocnide and the Boehmeria nivea group of taxa.
We are investigating the colonisation of karst formations by the genera Elatostema and Pilea: is it the product of repeated local colonisations, or of a single colonisation event followed by sustained net speciation?