Marco MraulagDoctoral student
At Plant Systematics (AG Angiosperms) until 04/2022
My general interest lies in the ‘when and ‘why’ plant diversity evolved, and ‘how’ and ‘which’ evolutionary processes modulated this diversity.
For my PhD, I’m studying Vincetoxicum, a flowering plant genus from the dogbane family (Apocynaceae, Asclepiadoideae) that has its origin in tropical Africa, from where it started to diversify approximately 13 Ma ago and subsequently dispersed into temperate areas of Eurasia with recent invasion of the New World by three species (V. hirundinaria, V. nigrum, V. rossicum); a remarkable biogeographic pattern for the mainly pantropical Asclepiadoideae.
To better understand the evolutionary history of temperate Vincetoxicum, we conduct morphological and physiological surveys on herbarium collections with phylogenomics and species distribution modelling approaches. Integration of these data sets allows me to ask about the actual species numbers of Vincetoxicum present in temperate Eurasia, their historical biogeography and the impact of the evolution of a specific herbivore-defense system (via phenanthroindolizidine alkaloids, PIAs) on shaping the evolution of species diversity and invasion potential of lineages. In combination, this will also allow me to predict future distribution and potential responses to changing habitats, and so helps to understand the invasive potential and the extinction risks of temperate Vincetoxicum under climate change.
My project: http://www.bayceer.uni-bayreuth.de/bayceer/en/forschung/proj/detail.php?id_obj=159235