Projecten per jaar
I'm a PhD student interested in the patterns and processes underlying global plant biodiversity. My PhD addresses the mystery of why some plant lineages have radiated widely, whilst others have barely diversified at all. By studying both functional traits (plant and environmental traits) and phylogenetic relationships of several plant lineages on the Canary Islands, I investigate the role of these traits on speciation and extinction.
PhD project: Trait-dependent diversification of Canary Island plant lineages
(October 2021 - present, jointly supervised with F. Lens and L. Valente, Naturalis Biodiversity Center, Netherlands)
Due their isolation and well-defined boundaries, islands have been considered excellent case studies to unravel evolutionary processes that have shaped present’s day biodiversity. However, one of the unresolved key questions in biodiversity research is why some animal and plant lineages have radiated spectacularly, while others remained species-poor or did not radiate at all. To solve this long-standing problem, we aim to develop a new theoretical island model that investigates the impact of potential key traits on speciation and extinction of species.
We thereby focus on using the most abundant plant family on islands (sunflower family) and the best studied archipelago (Canary Islands). The major outcomes of this project are twofold: (1) a tested, freely available, user-friendly software that will allow evolutionary biologists to investigate which traits drive plant or animal diversification in an insular context, and (2) identification of plant traits - e.g. transition to woody life form on islands, flower and fruit characters that impact dispersal - that have triggered radiation in the most successful island lineage.