The genus Curio is endemic to southern Africa and were previously part of the genus Senecio (Asteraceae). However, the species listed in this genus was never completely circumscribed and morphological chartacters were not accurate. This prompted the phylogenetic and taxonomic investigation of the genus. Phylogenies based on the ITS and trnL-trnF gene regions indicated that Curio is a well supported monophyletic group. Phylogenetic and morphological results indicated C. radicans and C. rowleyanus to be one species. Curio talinoides could possibly be separated into two species as the specimens used formed a non-monophyletic group. The circumscription of the genus was done.
Researchers involved: Dr M. Jackson and Dr L. Joubert
The primary of this study is to provide a taxonomic revision and a phylogenetic analysis of the genus Crabbea in southern Africa. This study further aims at adentifying features that may be used to delimit the genus Crabbea as a whole and the seven Crabbea species distributed in southern Africa. In order to have a better understanding of Crabbea, both anatomical as well as macro- and micromorphological characters will be investigated sothat an effective genus and species description and identification key can be established. The ecology of Crabbea will also be investigated. In addition, the study also aims at combining phylogenetic data (by using different evolving gene regions) in addition to morphological and anatomical data in order to have a better delimitation of Crabbea in southern Africa.
Researchers involved: Mr A. de Gouveia, Dr L. Joubert and Dr M. Jackson
The aim of the research project is to complete the first detailed pollination study on the Periplocoideae (Apocynaceae) in Africa. The Periplocoideae are characterized by two forms of pollen aggregation, namely pollen tetrads and spoon-shaped translators on which the tetrads are deposited at anthesis. As shown by Harder and Johnson (2009), pollen aggregation may develop in reaction to a variety of evolutionary selection pressures. Livshultz et al. (2011) have suggested that the pollinia of Secamonoideae and Asclepiadoideae (Apocynaceae) evolved in reaction to strong mate finding Allee effects following a climate niche shift from moist tropical forests to dry forest and arid habitats. This suggests that, in the Apocynaceae, species occupying arid habitats should have a higher degree of pollen aggregation and associated higher pollen transfer efficiency than related taxa occupying mesic habitats.
Researchers involved: Mr L. de Jager and Dr L. Joubert
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