Project groups


The role of long-distance dispersal, migration and vicariance, along with impact of climate and water level changes during the Cenozoic in the Indomalesian, Australasian and Pacific flora is currently hotly debated. The lack of well-resolved phylogenetic trees for plants in this region has been a major limitation for biogeographic analysis. We aim at reconstructing well-resolved phylogenetic trees for different plant groups (e.g. Apocynaceae, Meliaceae), and to use them to investigate the origin, evolution and dispersal history of biotas in this area. We predominantly select plant groups with good representation in the region in terms of abundance and species numbers, wide ecological attributes, known dispersal vectors, and a good fossil record.

External Collaborator

Livia Wanntorp


Melanie Grudinski, Ph.D. student


Gemeinholzer, B., Rey, I., Weising, K., Grundmann, M., Muellner, A.N., Zetsche, H., Droege, G., Seberg, O., Petersen, G., Rawson, D.M. & L.A. Weigt (2010) : Organizing specimen and tissue preservation techniques in the field for subsequent molecular analyses. - In: Manual on field recording techniques and protocols for All Taxa Biodiversity Inventories and Monitoring (Eds. Eymann J., Degreef J., Häuser C., Monje J.C., Samyn Y. & D. Van den Spiegel). Abc Taxa, Vol. 8: 129-157. Belgian National Focal Point to the Global Taxonomy Initiative, Brussels [].
Link to Publication

Grudinski, M., Pannell, C.M., Chase, M.W., Ahmad, J.A. & A.N. Muellner-Riehl (2014) : An evaluation of taxonomic concepts of the widespread plant genus Aglaia and its allies across Wallace’s Line (tribe Aglaieae, Meliaceae). - Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 73: 65-76.

Grudinski, M., Wanntorp, L. & A.N. Muellner (2011) : Molecular systematic of Hoya (Apocynaceae) based on multiple nuclear and plastid markers. BioSystematics 2011, Programme and Abstracts, 148-147.

Grudinski, M., Wanntorp, L. & A.N. Muellner (2011) : Shedding new light on the phylogeny and historical biogeography of Hoya (Apocynaceae). 22nd International Senckenberg Conference “The World at the Time of Messel: Puzzles in Palaeobiology, Palaeoenvironment, and the History of Early Primates.”, Conference Volume, 71-72 (ISBN 978-3-929907-86-5).

Grudinski, M., Wanntorp, L., Pannell, C.M. & A.N. Muellner-Riehl (2014) : West to east dispersal in a widespread animal-dispersed woody angiosperm genus (Aglaia, Meliaceae) across the Indo-Australian Archipelago. - Journal of Biogeography 41: 1149-1159.

Muellner, A.N. (2008) : Genetic diversity and distribution patterns of Aglaieae (Meliaceae) in Malesia. - Flora Malesiana Bulletin 14, 198-201.
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Muellner, A.N., Pannell, C.M. & H. Greger (2009) : Genetic diversity and geographic structure in Aglaia elaeagnoidea (Meliaceae, Sapindales), a morphologically complex tree species, near the two extremes of its distribution. Blumea 54: 207-216.

Muellner, A.N., Pannell, C.M., Coleman, A. & M.W. Chase (2008) : The origin and evolution of Indomalesian, Australasian and Pacific island biotas: insights from Aglaieae (Meliaceae, Sapindales). - Journal of Biogeography 35, 1769-1789.

Wanntorp, L., Gotthardt, K. & A. N. Muellner (2011) : Revisiting the wax plants (Hoya, Marsdenieae, Apocynaceae) phylogenetic tree using the chloroplast markers matK gene and psbA-trnH intergenic spacer. - Taxon 60, 4-14.

Wanntorp, L., Grudinski, M., Forster, P.I., Muellner-Riehl, A.N. & G.W. Grimm (2014) : Wax plants (Hoya, Apocynaceae) evolution: Epiphytism drives successful radiation. - Taxon 63: 89-102.