My current research concerns ancestral range reconstruction, phylogenetics and taxonomy of Cyrtandra (Gesneriaceae). Cyrtandra is the most species-rich in the family (500-600 species) and is widely distributed throughout Southeast Asia and the Pacific. I am using both molecular markers and ancestral range reconstruction analysis to study the relationships within this large genus, principally in Hawaii, and the South Pacific. I continue to conduct collecting expeditions (Hawai’i, 2004, 2005, 2007; [Western] Samoa, 2004-2005; Fiji 2006) to fill gaps in species distribution data and to collect silica gel-dried tissue for molecular analysis. I have conducted extensive laboratory work to develop a phylogenetic hypothesis based on combined and individual analysis of the nrDNA internal transcribed spacer region (ITS), nuclear ribosomal external transcribed spacer region (ETS) and cpDNA psbA-trnH spacer region.
This research has led to the comparative analysis of various methods for ancestral range reconstruction to ascertain their utility in reconstructing insular lineage histories.
I am also in the development phase for implementing a program to explore the Southeast Asia – Pacific interface region (a region centered on Fiji; principally the Solomon Islands south to New Caledonia and east to Samoa) – this region is of major biogeographic importance due to its association as a stepping-stone system into the remote Pacific islands as well as being a convergence zone between the Pacific and the Asian and Australian biotic zones.
Current Position:Director, Gesneriad Research CenterCenter for Tropical Plant Science and ConservationMarie Selby Botanical Gardens811 South Palm Ave.Sarasota, FL 34236Herbarium: 941/366-5731 ext. 256Cell: 509/338-5646Fax: 941/951-1474
© 2010, by John R. Clark. All rights reserved.