Oaks of the Americas

Abstract: 

Oaks of the Americas

Resolving the phylogeny of oaks (Quercus: Fagaceae) is the crucial first step to understanding the patterns of trait evolution, biogeography, and lineage diversification that structure oak-­dominated forests and woodlands. New World oaks form a single clade, with the Old World white oaks embedded within that New World clade. They play a critical role in global carbon sequestration in the ecology of temperate and semi-­arid North and Central America, where 255 species occur in a wide range of plant communities. Despite the significant ecosystem services, biodiversity, and physical structure provided by species of Quercus, lineage and trait diversification in oaks is poorly understood. Oaks are notable for the difficulties they have posed to systematists. This group's research with MSI resources investigates the diversification of lineages, genes, and traits in the New World oak clade within a geographical context. Specifically, they use various computationally intensive programs, including Isolation with Migration (IMa), to detect divergence times among genetic lineages. They also use other computational resources, including MATLAB.

Group name: 
cavender