EMBRYOS: Character evolution in Cyperaceae

1960s to present, collaborative research project

One of the most consistent plant parts providing phylogenetically informative data for distinguishing related groups in Cyperaceae are the small embryos. In 1965, Prof. Em. Paul Van der Veken performed pioneering work in this field. In the context of the ongoing Cyperaceae research at the Research Group Spermatophytes and the lab of Prof. Julian Starr at the University of Ottawa, we want to link the evolution of the embryos to the latest knowledge about the phylogenetic relationships within the Cyperaceae.

Already in 2013, Étienne Léveillé-Bourret worked on this subject as a course project. Now, we want to assemble all existing embryographical data in previously published papers and unpublished BSc and MSc studies at the Research Group Spermatophytes, and perform a gap analysis to identify taxa of which the embryos have not been studied yet. During this project, embryos of various, as yet unstudied Cyperaceae taxa will undergo morphometric study, and the embryo morphology will than be optimised on a molecular phylogenetic hypothesis of Cyperaceae. The results of this study will help to better understand the evolution within this plant family.
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Relevant publication:
Semmouri I. (2016) Character evolution in Cyperaceae: The importance of the small embryos. MSc thesis, Ghent University, Belgium: 206 p.
Van der Veken P. (1965) Contribution à l’ embryographie systématique des Cyperaceae-Cyperoideae. Bulletin du Jardin botanique de l'État à Bruxelles 35 (3): 285-354.

Researchers involved:

Prof. Dr. Isabel Larridon
Prof. Dr. Paul Goetghebeur
Prof. Dr. Julian Starr - University of Ottawa, Canada

Students involved:
Ilias Semmouri - Ghent University, Belgium
Étienne Léveillé-Bourret - University of Ottawa, Canada

Funding:
Ghent University
Department of Biology
Research Group Spermatophytes
Ghent University Botanical Garden