Systematics, Biodiversity and Evolution of Plants

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Master thesis

Phylogenetics and systematics of the mahogany family, Meliaceae 

Meliaceae is a family of approximately 48 genera and 700 species. Its diversity is centered in the tropics, but also contains temperate, mangrove, savannah, montane and dry-forest lineages. The family contains species of economic importance, including mahogany and neem, and has substantial medicinal significance due to the presence of unique secondary metabolites that have anti-cancer, antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial properties. Despite the ecological and economic importance of Meliaceae, the infra-familial relationships and biogeographic history of the family remains unclear, largely due to complicated morphological evolution and a likely history of reticulate evolution. In this project, you have the opportunity to reconstruct the phylogeny and biogeographic history of Meliaceae with a focus on Australian species, and/or explore some of the many taxonomic and morphological questions in this family.


Aglaia euryanthera Harms 


Dr. Elizabeth Joyce
Systematik, Biodiversität & Evolution der Pflanzen
Menzinger Str. 67
80638 München
Phone: +49 89 17861-251