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"An integrative approach to understanding plant evolution in the Andes " - Laura Lagomarsino

Friday, September 18, 2020 at 12:40pm

Virtual Event

Laura Lagomarsino
Asst. Professor, Louisiana State University


The tropical Andes are the world’s most species-rich biodiversity hotspot, as well as a home to lineages with some of the highest diversification rates. In one such lineage, the Neotropical bellflowers in the genera Centropogon, Burmeistera, and Siphocampylus (Campanulaceae: Lobelioideae), both abiotic and biotic factors drive diversification: macroevolutionary analyses show that past climate, Andean uplift, and mutualisms with vertebrate pollinators and seed dispersers had a positive effect on net diversification rates since the clade’s origin 5 million years ago, resulting in one of the largest and fastest Andean radiations. Frequent shifts between bat and hummingbird pollination syndromes in which floral traits undergo correlated evolution are key to rapid morphological evolution. These macroevolutionary results, in turn, informed microevolutionary and ecological research into the processes underlying divergence and co-existence in Neotropical bellflowers. For example, a gradient of pollination specialization mediated by key differences in floral morphology was documented in a system of three co-occurring species of Centropogon in Bolivia, providing insight into how pollination shifts may occur. Phylogeographic analysis of this system suggests that hybridization, often underappreciated in macroevolutionary studies, may be an important evolutionary force explaining co-existence of these species.

By integrating across temporal scales and data types, we have gained an in-depth understanding of diversification patterns in Neotropical bellflowers. Current work in the Lagomarsino Lab continues to examine evolution of Centropogon and their close ecological associates, but also expands to include other understudied Andean lineages. Via comparative integrative studies, we aim to understand if the processes that have generated the impressive diversity of Neotropical bellflowers are also in action in other lineages that have experienced the same geologic and climate history.

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Plant Biology


plant biology, sips




Contact E-Mail

Contact Name

Catalina L. Enright

Contact Phone



Laura Lagomarsino

Speaker Affiliation

Louisiana State University

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