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Helicia: Nought to 100 species in 5 million years


Fayed, S, Helicia: Nought to 100 species in 5 million years, School of Geography & Environmental Studies Conference Abstracts 2010, 28 June 2010, Sandy Bay (2010) [Conference Extract]


When you first spot a Helicia tree in the rainforest it seems fairly unimpressive. Generally not a canopy tree, generally a bit scraggly looking and unless they fortune a sunny break in the canopy they donít flower or fruit too much. However, they have the most surprising evolutionary pattern. Helicia come from the plant family Proteaceae and yet they break many typical Proteaceae patterns. They are the among the most recently speciating genera in the family (a distinction usually reserved for Proteaceae in temperate or Mediterranean climates) and they have the highest speciation rate out of all 80+ genera. Helicia also have the largest geographic distribution of any Proteaceae genus and extend further into Asia than any other Proteaceae. So why have Helicia speciated so rapidly and recently and spread so far..... and what can it tell us about evolution, speciation and extinction? This is the central question of my research, and it has taken me to tree canopies in Papua New Guinea, Cape York and the Daintree in Queensland. Come and have a look at the work-in-progress that is my thesis and a few odd photos that I picked up along the way.

Item Details

Item Type:Conference Extract
Keywords:Helicia, speciation, evolution, Proteaceae
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Evolutionary biology
Research Field:Speciation and extinction
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Other environmental management
Objective Field:Other environmental management not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Fayed, S (Ms Sarah Fayed)
ID Code:65556
Year Published:2010
Deposited By:Geography and Environmental Studies
Deposited On:2010-11-23
Last Modified:2010-11-23

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