Plant Systematics, Conservation Biology, and Ethnobotany


Monica Carlsen, Ph.D.

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Assistant Scientist – Education Coordinator
Research Department, Science & Conservation Division

Research Interests
Anthurium (Araceae) systematics and evolution
• Plant species diversity and geographic distribution in tropical regions
• Phylogenomics of rapid radiations of species

Web Pages:
The Genus Anthurium 

A revision of Anthurium section Dactylophyllium in tropical America – using morphology and genomics. Dr. Carlsen is one of the specialists in the Araceae family at MBG. Her research focuses in understanding the rapid radiation of the species-rich (ca. 900 species) Neotropical genus Anthurium (“flamingo” or “wax flower”), integrating revisionary taxonomical studies and molecular phylogenomics. Anthurium species with palmately divided leaves represent a very distinct morphological group within the genus. A recent molecular phylogeny (Carlsen and Croat 2013) has shown that most of these species (24 in total) belong to a single highly supported clade. Even though the group was recently re-delimited to match the findings in this molecular study (Croat & Carlsen 2013) and a partial revision has been published (Croat et al. 2008), an exhaustive taxonomic treatment of the bulk of the species that belong to section Dactylophyllium is still very much needed. At least 5 potentially new and undescribed species are found in this group as well as 2 hard to delimit species complexes. The main objective of this project is to perform a detailed taxonomic study of the species included in Anthurium section Dactylophyllium. The student will be involved in the following activities: sorting out specimens of Anthurium section Dactylophyllium using herbarium (dried) and living collections, describing basic morphological features of the species, using Lucid interactive key technology to compare and identify species, and analyzing whole chloroplast genomes to describe inter-specific relationships. The student will assist Dr. Carlsen in the preparation of a manuscript and be co-author for a publication based on the results of this project.

Selected Publications:
Carlsen, M. and Croat, T.B. 2013. A molecular phylogeny of the species-rich Neotropical genus Anthurium (Araceae) based on combined chloroplast and nuclear DNA. Systematic Botany 38(3): 576-588.
• Croat, T.B. and Carlsen, M. 2013. A reassessment of the group of Anthurium species with palmately-lobed leaves and a reinterpretation of Anthurium section Dactylophyllium Schott (Araceae). PhytoKeys 23: 41-54. doi: 10.3897/phytokeys.23.4754.
• Croat, T.B., Brossart, L. and Kostelac, C.V. 2008. A revision of the 3-segmented species of Anthurium sect. Dactylophyllium (Araceae). Aroideana 31: 57-84.

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