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Morphometrics of Lilioid & Alismatid monocots

Using morphometric techniques to deliver enhanced understanding of lilioid & alismatid monocot diversity to inform conservation

Morphometrics and Phylogeography of Anthurium and Monstera in NE Brazil: PCA of Monstera leaf shape data using Elliptical Fourier Analysis


Monocots 1 researchers have been extensively involved in plant diversity research using morphometric methods between 2006 and 2011. The largest project element was a study of the morphological and genetic variation of three species of Araceae occurring as isolated populations in humid forest refugia in Northeast Brazil (Monstera adansonii, Anthurium pentaphyllum, Anthurium sinuatum) which occur in isolated forest “refugia” in Northeast Brazil, and also in the major humid forest biomes of Amazonia and the Atlantic Forest of Brazil. The results showed unexpectedly high levels of genetic variation in the most isolated forests and complex patterns of relationships between the populations studied. Genetic structure analysis suggested that the patterns observed were consistent with the theory of cyclic expansion and contraction of humid forests in Northeast Brazil as a response to late Quaternary climate change. Morphometric studies of leaf outlines using elliptic Fourier analysis in general supported existing species delimitations but the morphological variation observed showed little correlation with genetic variation at population level.

Other project elements include research on tepal shape variation in Sternbergia (Amaryllidaceae) using Fourier Analysis which yielded a significant outcome for conservation and horticulture. Researchers have also been involved in a long-term collaboration with the Digital Imaging Research Centre at Kingston University and the Department of Computing of the University of Surrey investigating novel morphometric methods from computer vision and machine learning using fresh and dried/herbarium specimen leaf material.


Project partners and collaborators


Universidade Estadual de Piaui, Parnaiba/Ivanilza M. de Andrade
Universidade Estadual de Feira de Santana/Dr Cássio Van den Berg


Kingston University/Paolo Remagnino, Sarah Barman, James Cope
University of Surrey/Jonathan Clark, David Corney

Project team

Herbarium, Library, Art & Archives

Don Kirkup, Simon Mayo (retired 2009), Paul Wilkin, Anna Trias Blasi, Paula Rudall

Jodrell Laboratory

Mike Fay, Christian Lexer

Project Leader: