Family Level Phylogenetics

Pollinator-mediated selection is a major driver of floral evolution in flowering plants, with many floral traits associated with specific pollinators, yielding unique pollinator syndromes. However, few such syndromes have been investigated in both a historical and genetic context. My overall goal was to unite adaptations associated with specific pollinators to observable phenotypic characters, ultimately linking these phenotypic characters with their underlying genetic control. I used phylogenetic methods to infer the history of flower evolution and pollinators and polarize transitions in floral traits. A species-level phylogeny allows me to place the floral transitions and identify character correlations, laying the foundation for determining the genetic mechanisms involved.

For this project the goal was to include as many species as possible in the phylogenetic reconstruction of Polemoniaceae.  We were able to include 90% of all known species.  With this tree, we mapped on flower color, flower size and pollinators for as many species as possible.  This project set the foundation for further investigation of flower color and flower size during my dissertation.

All herbarium photos that were used to measure flower length and width have been deposited in Figshare for reproducibility.  Link to herbarium photos.

Manuscript coming soon.