Fabian A. Michelangeli and collaborators
A collaborative effort led by scientists from The New York Botanical Garden, the University of Florida, the Universidade Federal de Paraná, and the California Academy of Sciences, along with several collaborators in the US, Latin America and Europe, will produce a complete taxonomic inventory and monographic description of the tribe Miconieae in the plant family Melastomataceae. Melastomataceae is a group of over 1800 species from the Americas, mostly trees and shrubs from tropical rain and montane forests. These plants are ecologically important due to their diversity and abundance in forest understories, and because they are an important food source for tropical birds and mammals. The Miconieae also include two of the worst plant invasives in the Hawaii and South Pacific Islands (Koster’s curse [Clidemia hirta] and purple plague [Miconia calvescens]), and the distributional changes of these invasives will be documented. The project will comprehensively review all of the 1,800 species, combining studies in the field, herbarium, and laboratory to produce a thorough taxonomic inventory and phylogenetic analysis of the group.
All of the information generated by the study will be available online through a dedicated module of NYBG’s botanical database, the Virtual Herbarium. The database will include complete description and images for all species, keys for their identification, and distribution maps for each species. The project will train postdoctoral associates and graduate students in the US and Latin America on the tools of modern monographic treatments and taxonomic nomenclature. Local scientists will be integral part of the field work and will also be trained, and an intensive course for Latin American students and scientists on the systematics and taxonomy of the Melastomataceae will take place during the third year of the project.
More information: PBI: Miconieae (Melastomataceae)