From Plant Press, Vol. 18, No. 2, April 2015.
Monica Carlsen joined the Botany Department as a Peter Buck Postdoctoral Fellow in February 2015 working with John Kress and Jun Wen. Carlsen completed both her Master’s and Doctoral studies at the University of Missouri–St. Louis, in collaboration with the Missouri Botanical Garden. Her doctoral dissertation research focused on phylogenetic systematics of the genus Anthurium (Araceae), a large (ca. 900 species), strictly Neotropical, aroid genus that has diversified very rapidly and recently. At the Smithsonian she will be working on understanding species richness disparities between the Neotropics and the Asian tropics, using Araceae and Zingiberales as target study groups. Phylogenetic and Next Generation sequencing methods, together with spatial analyses of species distribution models will be used to understand the evolutionary mechanisms (i.e., clade age, and speciation, extinction and diversification rates) and ecological mechanisms (i.e., area availability, habitat heterogeneity, and niche differentiation) thought to affect these worldwide patterns of tropical species diversity.
Carolina Moriani Siniscalchi from São Paulo, Brazil arrived in January to spend three weeks working on her dissertation research. She was the recipient of a Cuatrecasas Fellowship Award offered annually by the Department of Botany. Her thesis is on the “Systematics and Evolution of Chresta (Asteraceae).” Chresta has 11 species and is nearly endemic to Brazil, but many of the historical specimens are housed in herbaria around the world because several early botanical collectors travelled around Brazil during the 1700 and 1800s. Siniscalchi’s time was spent studying the specimens, taking measurements and identifying some of them. All of these data will be part of the revision of the genus that will be one of the chapters of her thesis.