Project groups


In the scope of our project we use plant genera of the families Ericaceae (Agapetes, Vaccinium) and Rhamnaceae (Rhamnus) as model systems for the investigation of the role of the uplift of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau (QTP) on plant diversification and biogeographic history. These three genera were chosen due to their good representation in the region in terms of species numbers. In the case of Rhamnus, fossils revealed that this genus had already been present in the Tibetan region before the uplift occurred. In this study, phylogenetic reconstructions based on several nuclear and plastid markers and on a significantly large taxonomic sampling of the three genera will be associated with biogeographical analyses to

(1) identify the role of the uplift of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau for plant diversification from the Eocene to Miocene,
(2) unravel migration/dispersal routes by which this region was colonized, and
(3) investigate how temperate and tropical genera differ in their biogeographic history.


Matuszak, S., Favre, A. & A.N. Muellner (2011). Up to the Top – Plant Diversification on the Tibetan Plateau. - 22nd International Senckenberg Conference, Frankfurt, Germany, 15-19 November 2011. Conference Volume, p. 114 (ISBN 978-3-929907-86-5).


Sabine Matuszak, Ph.D. student


Favre, A., Matuszak, S. & A.N. Muellner-Riehl (2013) : Two New Species of the Asian Genus Tripterospermum (Gentianaceae). - Systematic Botany 38: 224-234.

Favre, A. & S. Karrenberg (2011) : Stress tolerance in closely related species and their first-generation hybrids: a case study of SileneJournal of Ecology 99, 1415-1423.