Lab of Plant Evolution and Biogeography
Lab of Plant Evolution and Biogeography

Research Directions

  • Terrestrial ecosystem is dominated by the splendid diversity of vascular plant species, which have also been essential for the development and function of human civilization. My research interest is to understanding evolutionary processes underlying Darwin’s “abominable mystery”—the rapid speciation of vascular plant species. By applying molecular phylogenetic approaches, we study three species-rich flowering plant groups: BegoniaBerberis, and gesnerids distributed in the Sino-Vietnamese limestone karsts. Our collaborative efforts across Southeast Asian countries aim to fully document Begonia diversity and reconstruct a natural infrageneric classification for this mega diverse genus. As the most speciose woody genus of basal eudicots distributed in high mountains, Berberis presents an ideal group to study how global mountain buildup had triggered speciation, including a species radiation in Taiwan. As the most characteristic plant group of Sino-Vietnamese limestone karsts, phylogenetic studies of limestone gesnerids provide crucial information for the effective conservation of this highly threaten ecosystem of Southeast Asian countries. We also study phylogeography of paper mulberry, a fibrous dioecious tree species likely transported by Austronesian ancestors from Taiwan to across Remote Oceanic islands for making bark cloth, providing the most convincing ethnobotanical evidence for the “Out of Taiwan” hypothesis of Austronesian expansion and migration.。
Location: Green House Building 105
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