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Community phylogenetics and conservation on an oceanic archipelago: the flora of the Azores as a case study (AZORES)
Start date: May 1, 2008, End date: Apr 30, 2010 PROJECT  FINISHED 

"The Azores are a group of nine volcanic islands in the Northern Atlantic Ocean with a distance of c. 1,500 km to the European and c. 1,900 km to the American coast. Building on the results of earlier chorological analyses of the flora of this archipelago, we propose to build a phylogenetic tree for the flora of the islands based on molecular data, including all native and introduced angiosperm species, and analyse the phylogenetic diversity (PD) of the present ecological assemblages. PD is the evolutionary heritage of the islands' flora and provides crucial information for conservation planning. Specifically, we will test two hypotheses: 1) PD is decoupled from species diversity in oceanic island systems. 2) Invasives in the Azores are not closely related to indigenous species and tend to fill empty niches. Our study would be the first species-level phylogeny for the complete angiosperm flora of an archipelago. Since we combine traditional species list approaches with state-of-the-art phylogenetic, genetic, and statistic approaches, our results could serve as a model system for informed and systematic conservation on islands throughout the world."
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