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  • Foto: Stephan Imhof

Biodiversity of plants lab - Alexander Zizka

“Which environmental factors drive flowering plant diversity and how can we protect it?”

We are a growing lab enthusiastic about research on plant evolution, biogeography and systematics. To answer the above question, we develop innovative methods to use Big Data in biodiversity research. Mostly we work with information on species geographic distribution, functional traits and phylogenetic relationships.  We use these data and methods together with field-based understanding of plant morphology and ecology to document large-scale geographic patterns in the diversity of flowering plants and to understand the underlying evolutionary mechanisms. We are particularly interested in the role of evolutionary biome transitions, phylogenetically derived woodiness and mycoheterotropic nutrition. When possible, we complement large-scale analyses with field work, for instance on Palms and members of the Pineapple family (Bromeliaceae) in South America.