Alexandre Antonelli (group leader)

Alexandre Antonelli is a Full Professor in Systematics and Biodiversity at the Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Gothenburg. He is also Scientific curator at Gothenburg botanical garden. He has recently returned from a sabbatical at Harvard University working as a Visiting Professor at the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, hosted by Prof. Scott Edwards and Prof. Charles (Chuck) Davis. Alex is an evolutionary biologist with practical and theoretical experience ranging from fieldwork in the tropics to molecular-based laboratory and analytical techniques. He is interested in combining data and techniques from phylogenetics, palaeontology, ecology, systematics, and geology for addressing empirical biological questions. His research has focused on the origins and evolution of tropical America’s outstanding biodiversity. He is particularly interested in comparing the evolutionary history of different organism groups to understand their evolution and distribution. To achieve these goals, he has also worked on the development of new methods to deal with "big data" in biodiversity.

Keywords: Biogeography, Biodiversity, Evolution, Systematics, Neotropics

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Daniele Silvestro

Daniele is an Assistant Professor at Gothenburg University. He is mainly interested in modeling macroevolutionary processes using Bayesian statistics, with a particular focus on the estimation of speciation, extinction, and migration rates from both dated molecular phylogenies and fossil occurrence data. Daniele also develops the programs PyRate, BayesRate, and raxmlGUI.

Keywords: Macroevolution, Bayesian statistics, stochastic evolutionary processes, species diversification

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Christine Bacon

Christine's main interest is in the use of molecular phylogenies as a tool to study evolutionary and biogeographical patterns in time and space. She integrates phylogenies with ecological and geological information to understand biodiversity and diversification in tropical regions. She primarily works on palms (Arecaceae), but also actively works on Celastraceae plants in Madagascar and South America. Christine is an Assistant professor in the Antonelli Lab and is working on a variety of projects including reviewing the evidence for biotic migrations over the Isthmus of Panama in light of new geological and paleontological evidence, as well as examining speciation mechanisms in the Amazon.

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Keywords: biogeography, macroevolution, phylogenetics, Neotropics, palm, systematics

Søren Faurby

Søren Faurby is an Assistant Professor in the Antonelli group. He is a biogeographer with interests in both ecology and evolution, focusing on overall preferable global patterns. Most of his recent work has been focused on mammals but he has also worked on many other organisms. His recent work has primarily focused on the differences between how different macroecological and macroevolutionary patterns are based on contemporary distributions than they would have been without the massive Late Pleistocene and Holocene extinctions and range contraptions. Ongoing work focuses on integrating fossils and current distributions in analyses of diversities and distributions through time.

Keywords: Biogeography, macroecology, macroevolution, mammals, megafauna ,phylogentics, trait-evolution

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Allison Perrigo

Allison is the coordinator for the Gothenburg Global Biodiversity Centre (GGBC) and the Antonelli Lab. She studied ecology (BSc, 2008) at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada and protist systematics (PhD, 2013) at Uppsala University in Uppsala, Sweden. She then worked as a visiting researcher in tree fern systematics and biogeography, also at Uppsala University, before starting Forest Cat Editing, a company focused on academic communication, in 2015. While operating her company as a “digital nomad” from nearly two dozen countries, Allison further developed her interest in scientific outreach while explaining her work to the people she met along the way. This eventually led her back to Gothenburg to work with the Antonelli Lab and to help start the new biodiversity centre. She co-edited the book Mountains, Climate and Biodiversity with Alexandre Antonelli and Carina Hoorn (Wiley, 2017), and has authored a number of scientific and popular science articles. Allison is an avid traveler and adventurer, hiker, SCUBA diver, mushroom connoisseur, fossil hunter and all-around nerd.

Keywords: Public outreach, Gothenburg Global Biodiversity Centre, biogeography, biodiversity, protists, scientific editing, systematics

Josué Anderson Rêgo Azevedo

Josué is currently doing a PhD under the supervision of Alexandre Antonelli at BioEnv, University of Gothenburg. His project is entitled: “Origin, evolution and biodiversity of Neotropical snakes: patterns and processes of the world’s richest and most threatened herpetofauna”. He completed his masters in zoology at the Universidade de Brasília (UnB, Brazil), studying the historical biogeography of the Cerrado herpetofauna. His main interests are evolution of species niches and traits over time and space.

Keywords: biogeography, endemism, evolution, Cerrado, Serpentes

Jonna Eriksson

Jonna is currently doing a PhD under the supervision of Alexandre Antonelli and Bernard Pfeil at BioEnv. Her work involves estimating the phylogeny, biogeographic history and divergence times of hybrid plants. To this end she is employing sequence-capture methods which she first developed for Medicago (Fabaceae), but now focusing on the pantropical genus Pavonia (Malvaceae).

Keywords: sequence capture, Malvaceae

Tobias Andermann (Hofmann)

Tobias is a PhD student in the Antonelli Lab, working in the field of macroevolution. During his PhD project “The Rise and Fall of Species” he investigates the dynamics of speciation, extinction and species turn-over on broad taxonomic, geographic and temporal scales. Tobias is interested in understanding the impact and role of biotic and abiotic factors that influence, shape and drive the evolution of life on earth. To answer these questions, he applies genetic data of the present biodiversity and fossil occurrences of the past, using and developing new bioinformatic approaches that are capable of handling big data. He recently finished a Masters programme at the Nordic Academy of Biodiversity and Systematic Studies (NABiS), based at Gothenburg University, Sweden. During his Master’s project Tobias developed a new approach which increases the utility of NGS data for resolving phylogenies of recently diverged taxa.

Keywords: phylogenetics, sequence capture (NGS), bioinformatics, macroevolution


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Harith Farooq

Harith is a Mozambican biologist and has been working in Mozambique for the last 6 years as a lecturer and a researcher where he mostly carrys out inventories of amphibians and reptiles across the country. He started his PhD in 2016 on the biodiversity value of the inselberg forests of Northern Mozambique. His main interests are species distribution and conservation and he expects that his PhD can help conservation in Mozambique by screening the country for important areas of genetic storage.

Keywords: biogeography, conservation, amphibians, reptiles, ecology, genetics

Pável Matos Maraví

Pável is interested in insect biogeography and systematics. He is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie post-doc at the University of Gothenburg from 2017 to 2019. At Antonelli's lab, he studies the phylogenetic relationships and biogeography of main Neotropical clades within the butterfly families Hesperiidae and Nymphalidae. The main goal is to better understand the ecological and evolutionary processes intervening in tropical biodiversity. He uses phylogenomic approaches, along with life-history data (larval hostplants, geographical ranges) and methods to estimate character evolution and diversification rates.

Keywords: biogeography, butterflies, insects, Neotropics, phylogenomics, systematics

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Juan D. Carrillo

Juan is a postdoc funded by an early postdoc mobility fellowship of the Swiss National Science Foundation. His research focus on the palaeobiology, systematics, biogeography and morphology of vertebrates, especially from South America. He studies the macroevolutionary changes of these lineages in relation with palaeoenvironmental conditions and geographic distributions, combining palaeontological and neontological data. He is particularly interested in the diversity and evolution of Neotropical mammals.

Keywords: Palaeontology, Morphology, Evolution, Systematics, Neotropics

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Ferran Sayol

Ferran Sayol has a wide interest on macroecological and macroevolutionary patterns driving current diversity, mainly using birds as a study model. During his PhD in Barcelona (UAB, 2018), he has focused on the evolution of behavioural flexibility and its relevance to understand how animals cope with environmental challenges. More recently, he has become interested in addressing a major societal challenge: the recent and ongoing loss of species due to human impact on Earth. Currently, he is a postdoc in the Antonelli Lab, where he will develop a project on global patterns of bird extinctions, aiming to understand how extinctions are changing overall macro-scale patterns. Among other questions, he will investigate how trait distributions might be biased by non-random extinctions and whether some macroecological patterns are better explained by past rather than current species distributions.

Keywords: Anthropocene, extinction, trait-evolution, phylogenetics, avifauna

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Daniel Edler

Daniel is a PhD student working on developing software and algorithms to better understand the patterns of biodiversity using network science and interactive visualizations.

Keywords: Biogeography, networks, biodiversity, software, citizen science

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Beatriz Neves

Beatriz Neves is a PhD student at the National Museum of Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She works with Systematics of Bromeliaceae and is currently studying the taxonomy, evolution and diversification of the genus Vriesea, using morphometric and phylogenetic approaches.

Keywords: Systematics, Bromeliaceae, Vriesea, Phylogenetics, Morphometrics, Brazilian Atlantic Forest

Paola de Lima Ferreira

Paola is a biologist working with taxonomical, phylogenetic and historical biogeographical questions in different angiosperm families. Her main interest is in the early branches of Asteraceae, with focus on the subfamily Barnadesioideae. In this project, she is seeking to understand the phylogenetic relationship between all genera using the target enrichment method and also understand the historical biogeography of the group. She is doing her PhD at the University of São Paulo, Brazil, under the main supervision of Milton Groppo and co-supervised by Alexandre Antonelli at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

Keywords: Asteraceae, Target Enrichment, Biogeography, Taxonomy, Phylogeny

Adam Klimes

Adam is PhD student from Charles University, Czech Republic. He has a bachelor in philosophy and a master in theoretical biology with a specialization in the comparison of frequentist and Bayesian statistics. In his current project he is investigating the evolution of herbaceous habit and ecological differences between herbs and woody plants.

Keywords: philosophy of science, biostatistics, growth form, evolution

Oskar Hagen

Oskar is an evolutionary biologist and ecologist, at present based at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH Zurich) and the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL) in Switzerland. His background is in conservation biology, environmental sciences and informatics . Currently he investigates the role of past environmental conditions and eco-evolutionary feedbacks in shaping biodiversity gradients. For that, he develops macroevolutionary mechanistic models inferring biodiversity patterns from historical environmental dynamics. At Prof. Antonelli’s lab he collaborates investigating ways of extracting useful information from fossil records, specifically regarding age-dependent extinction processes. Personal e-mail:

Keywords: macroevolution, macroecology, macroevolutionary models

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Marcelo F. Tejedor

Marcelo received his PhD at the Universidad Nacional de La Plata, Argentina, and is now a researcher of the Argentine National Council for Scientific and Technologic Research (CONICET) and Professor at the Universidad Nacional de la Patagonia “San Juan Bosco.” His work has focused on the evolution of platyrrhine primates, with emphasis on systematics, phylogeny, paleobiogeography and paleoenvironments. Among other projects, he is involved in the study of Paleogene mammals from Patagonia with the description of a diverse mammal assemblage. He is currently working on platyrrhine origins and their early evolutionary radiation. Between November 2016 and August 2017 he is a Guest Professor at the Antonelli lab. During his time here, one of the major objectives is to assess the role of Patagonian fossil platyrrhines in the evolution of the extant groups, using a paleobiogeographic scenario and inferring geographic evolution under Bayesian and phylogenetic methods.

Keywords: Fossil primates, platyrrhine origins and evolution, paleobiogeography, paleoenvironments, fossil mammals

Bruno S. Amorim

Bruno is a taxonomist and has experience with the northern Atlantic Forest flora with a special interest in the family Myrtaceae. Currently he is a Ph.D. student at the Federal University of Pernambuco, Brazil. The focus of his thesis is the phylogeny, biogegraphy and taxonomy of the Gomidesia clade (Myrcia s.l.), under the main supervison of Dr. Marccus Alves and in collaboration with Dr. Luís Gustavo Souza, Dr. Eve Lucas and Dr. Alexandre Antonelli.

Keywords: Atlantic Forest, biogeography, phylogeny, systematic, Myrtaceae, Myrcia, Neotropics



María Ariza

María is a biologist from Guatemala and she is currently conducting her Master's in the International Applied Ecology program IMAE. She is curious about mutualistic interactions, specially the ones implying generalist species. Her background in Ecology started with her bachelor studies in Guatemala where she investigated the populations genetics of stingless bees in the cloudy forest. She also has been involved in several projects about bat conservation, with special focus on frugivorous bats. Having guatemalan’s great biodiversity as natural laboratory and learning about diverse ecosystems trough her master inspired María to investigate biogeographic patterns in the Neotropics. Starting on January, María will conduct her Master's thesis in the Antonelli Lab investigating the role of non-specific mutualism on ecological speciation. Her research model includes the non-specific mutualistic interaction between leaf-nosed bats and pepper plants and the phylogeographic analysis of this interaction which is key for forest regeneration.

Keywords: Bats, mutualistic interactions, conservation, phylogeography

Emke Vrasdonk

Emke is an industrial ecologist with a background in biology. She is interested in the impacts of land use and land transformations on biodiversity, specifically from product and production systems. Her work aims primarily at the identification and development of models for the inclusion of biodiversity indicators into life-cycle assessment (LCA), which is a frequently used decision support tool for the systematic evaluation of the environmental aspects of a product or service system through all stages of its life cycle (from cradle to grave). Emke is a PhD student at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg under the main supervision of Ulrika Palme and co-supervised by Alex Antonelli.

Keywords: Biodiversity, land use, life-cycle assessment, environmental biology, biodiversity indicators, production systems

Andrés J. Cortés

Andrés' research interests lie in studying the adaptive potential of plants in response to climate change. He has explored the genomic signatures of adaptation in Alpine ecosystems (i.e. the Espeletia complex in the Páramo and dwarf willow (Salix herbacea) in the European Alps), as well as genetic adaptive variation in common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) for drought tolerance. Andrés has completed his PhD in Plant Ecological Genetics at Uppsala University and his MSc and BSc in Biological Sciences at Universidad de los Andes. He has worked at the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL), the International Center for Agricultural Research (CIAT) and the National Botanic Gardens of Ireland.

Keywords: Climate change, alpine ecosystems

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Erica Barroso

Erica has a Master in Botany from the National Museum/Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She is currently a PhD student at the University of Zurich, under the main supervision of Elena Conti, co-supervised by Alex Antonelli and Jürg Schönenberger (University of Vienna). She is interested in molecular systematics, biogeography and macroevolution. Her project includes phylogeny, biogeography and macroevolution of a subfamily of Acanthaceae, which has pantropical distribution.

Keywords: Acanthaceae, sequence capture, phylogenomics, biogeography, macroevolution, tropics

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Romina Batista

Romina is a biologist working on phylogeography of neotropical birds, cellular and molecular Biology, cryptic diversity and distribution models. She has experience in field work with birds of the Amazon and was a fellow at Ornithological Collection of the Goeldi Museum, Belém, Pará, Brazil (2009). She concluded (2012) a Masters degree in Zoology at Goeldi Museum. She has experience with tools like ArcGis, ArcMap and ArcView to develop paleodistribution of species. Currently, Romina is a PhD student at INPA, Manaus, Brazil under the main supervision of Camila Ribas and co-supervised by Alex Antonelli and Urban Olsson in Gothenburg.

Keywords: Phylogeography of Neotropical Birds, Cellular and Molecular Biology, Cryptic Diversity and Distribution Models of Neotropical Birds


Eder Chilquillo

Eder is peruvian PhD student working on the Systematics and Biogeography of Neotropical Rubiaceae at the University of Campinas (UNICAMP) in Brazil, focusing on the genus Ladenbergia (Rubiaceae). He is supervised by Dr. André Simões in collaboration with our lab.

Keywords: Andes, Biogeography, phylogeny, Neotropis, Plant evolution


Ivan Diogo

Ivan obtained a masters degree in Ecology and Natural Resources from Federal University of Ceará (UFC), Brazil. Now he is a PhD student at the University of Campinas (UNICAMP), Brazil and is currently doing a 'sandwich' internship in the Antonelli lab. Ivan collaborates with the Swedish Museum of Natural History. In his project, he addresses the evolutionary and biogeographical aspects of mountain forests of Northeastern Brazil, with a special focus on how past responses to climate changes affect plant distribution, migration and dispersal, phylogenetic and functional diversity. His main interest is the use of floristic data and phylogenies to understand the biodiversity and diverse and particular patterns of the Neotropical region.

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Keywords: biogeography, plant evolution, moutain forests, biodiversity, Neotropics

Fernanda Santos Freitas

Fernanda has experience on different groups of Brazilian Asteraceae. During her MSc studies she worked on the taxonomy of Vernonieae - Sipolisiinae. Her current interest is in the taxonomy of Senecioneae. She is currently doing her PhD hosted at Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG), Brazil, under the main supervision of João Aguiar Nogueira Batista, working on the Systematics and Taxonomy of Senecio (Asteraceae), co-supervised by Alex Antonelli in Gothenburg.

Keywords: Asteraceae, Senecioneae

Thaís Guedes

Thaís is a biogeographer and herpetologist. At first, She studied mainly diversity, biogeography, and conservation of snake fauna of the Caatinga - a natural region in northeastern Brazil. She is a post-doc at the Federal University of São Paulo, but currently, she is doing one-year post-doc at University of Gothenburg. She is also associate researcher in the Zoology Museum of the São Paulo University. Her main interests are in regionalization, historical and conservation biogeography, evolution, herpetology (especially snakes), and diversification processes in open landscapes in the Neotropics, aiming at a better understanding of the biotic relationships between the Caatinga, Cerrado, Chaco, Pantanal, and Pampas biomes. She started using NGS as a tool to study evolutionary and biogeographical patterns in time and space.

Keywords: Biogeography, Conservation, Snakes, Open Landscapes, South America

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Carina Hoorn

Carina is a geologist/paleoecologist and associate researcher at the Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED) of the University of Amsterdam (The Netherlands) and holds an MSc and PhD from this university, and an MSc in Science Communication from the Imperial College London (UK). Her main interest is the natural history of the Amazon region and its seaward extension, the Amazon Fan. Most of her work is focused on better understanding the crucial role of Andean uplift on past biodiversity, drainage reconfigurations, and the extent and effect of marine incursions in the Amazonian heartland. This is best exemplified in her Science paper published in 2010 where the links between biodiversity patterns and mountain uplift are explained. Together with Hubert Vonhof, Carina edited a special issue on Amazonia in the Journal of South American Earth Sciences (2006) and with Frank Wesselingh edited “Amazonia, landscape and species evolution: A look into the past”, published by Wiley-Blackwell (2010). In the past, Carina was lecturer at the Sultan Qaboos University (Oman) and Delft Technical University (The Netherlands), and research associate at the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew (UK). She has also worked as technical writer for External Communications at Shell International Exploration and Production (The Netherlands). Carina regularly gives presentations, serves in academic review panels, acts as reviewer for international academic journals, and occasionally writes popular science articles.

Keywords: Amazonia and the Amazon submarine fan (Neogene), Tibet (Cenozoic), Siwaliks (Himalayan foothills).

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Laura Lagomarsino

Laura has done a PhD in the Davis Lab in the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University and is now Assistant Professor at Louisiana State University. She studies the phylogeny and evolution of the Neotropical Lobelioideae, specifically the clade comprising the genera Centropogon, Siphocampylus, and Burmeistera. In addition to taxonomy in the clade, she is interested in patterns of character evolution, particular of floral morphology in relation to pollinator shifts, and in diversification and biogeography in the context of the orogeny of the Andes.

Keywords: neotropical plants, Campanulaceae, Andes, phylogeny, diversification, pollination syndromes, systematics

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Samuli Lehtonen

Samuli is a curator of vascular plants in the University of Turku Herbarium (TUR), Finland. He is interested in phylogenetic systematics and tropical biodiversity. His current research is focused on fern systematics and macroevolution with a special interest in the diversification of Neotropical species of genus Lindsaea.

Keywords: biodiversity, botanical nomenclature, ferns, Neotropics, phylogenetics, taxonomy

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Carla Maldonado

Carla is doing a PhD on phylogeny of tribe Cinchoneae using DNA sequences. In this work she will attempt to include representatives of all species of the tribe and several accessions of all species within the genus Cinchona. The project will include DNA-sequencing and phylogenetic analyses of tribe Cinchoneae and feed into the larger project: The Quest for Cinchona. She is supervised by Nina Rønsted at the Natural History Museum of Denmark, and co-supervised by Alex Antonelli and Claes Persson

Victor Martins Gonçalez

Victor is a biologist with Bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences (2009) from the Universidade Paulista, Brazil and a Master’s degree from the Postgraduate Program in Plant Biodiversity and Environment, Botanical Institute of Sao Paulo, Brazil (2013). He has experience in Botany and emphasises on phanerogams taxonomy, working mainly with the taxonomy of the family Malvaceae s.l. Two of his projects conducted as an intern at the Botanical Institute won prizes for the best scientific initiation work and the Frederico Carlos Hoehne prize, repectively. Until his Master’s, Victor worked with four genera of Malvaceae s.l. (Malvoideae and Byttnerioideae). In 2014 he began to attend the PhD Program in Biotechnology at the University of Mogi das Cruzes (UMC), São Paulo, Brazil, focusing on Systematics of the genus Pavonia (another genus of Malvaceae, Malvoideae), under the supervision of Marília Cristina Duarte. He is currently a guest PhD student in the Antonelli group, under supervision of Alexandre Antonelli and Bernard Pfeil. He is enrolled in the ‘sandwich PhD’ program enabled by Ciências sem Fronteiras.

Keywords: Malvaceae, Pavonia, taxonomy, NGS, biogeography, systematics, South America


Alessandra Marques de Paiva

Alessandra has experience with taxonomy of Rubiaceae. She is doing a PhD in the National Museum of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), under the supervision of Dr. Ruy José Válka Alves and co-supervised by Alexandre Antonelli, working with Taxonomy, Phylogeny and Biogeography of Remijia (Rubiaceae - Cinchoneae).

Keywords: Rubiaceae, Remijia, biogeography


Maria do Céo Rodrigues Pessoa

Maria do Céo Rodrigues Pessoa is a PhD student at the Federal University of Pernambuco, Brazil, under the supervision of Maria Regina Barbosa, and co-supervised by Alex Antonelli and Claes Persson at the University of Gothenburg. She is also a biologist at the Lauro Pires Xavier Herbarium (JPB), at the Federal University of Paraiba in Brazil. The purpose of her doctoral project is to perform a molecular phylogenetic study of the genus Chomelia Jacq. (Rubiaceae) and a taxonomic study of the Brazilian species.

Keywords: Rubiaceae, Chomelia, systematics

Esther (Boni) Nieto

Boni is a Spanish biologist who received her MSc degree in Biodiversity and Taxonomy of plants from the University of Edinburgh (UoE)/Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh (RBGE). She is currently a PhD student at Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN), Canada under the supervision of Julissa Roncal and co-supervised by Alex Antonelli in Gothenburg. Her studies aim to elucidate biogeographic patterns in the geological and ecological complex region of the Caribbean using phylogenies, to understand the endemic flora assembly of the region. As a case study she'll be looking at the systematics and biogeography of a Podocarpus lineage.

Keywords: biogeography, phylogenies, Caribbean, Podocarpus

Diogo B. Provete

Diogo's main interest is on ecological and evolutionary processes that shape ecological communities at distinct spatial scales. He also has interests in phenotypic evolution of anurans and how trait evolution may change how species interact and dictate species coexistence in local communities. He's just finished his PhD in Ecology and Evolution at the Federal University of Goiás, Goiânia, Brazil. Before going to Goiânia, he obtained a Master's degree from the São Paulo State University working on metacommunity dynamics of larval anurans. He has been working with ecology and morphology of Brazilian anurans since 2006. He is now on a short term post-doc with the Antonelli lab supported by CNPq, working with biogeography of Brazilian Atlantic Forest anurans trying to understand the joint effects of Plio-Pleistocene refugia and environmental variables on the species distribution along this biome.

Keywords: Neotropical anuran biology, Freshwater Metacommunity dynamics, ecophylogenetics, macroevolution, phenotypic evolution

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Gislaine A. Rodrigues Silva

Gislaine’s main interest is related to evolution of natural populations of plants in dry areas. In her PhD (supervised by Maura Manfrin at University of São Paulo in collaboration with Alexandre Antonelli), she worked with the impact of Pleistocene climate change on the population dynamics of a South Brazil cacti species. Currently, she is a post-doc at University of São Carlos supervised by Evandro Moraes, mainly focusing on the evolutionary process of naturally distributed populations of rare and endangered cacti in Serra do Espinhaço (rocky savanna) to establish their conservation strategies, as a part of National Plan of Action for the Conservation of Cacti of Brazil (PAN Cactaceae).

Keywords: Cactaceae, endangered, phylogeography, dry areas, climate change


Mats Töpel

Mats defended his thesis entitled “Phylogenetic and Phyloclimatic Inference of the Evolution of Potentilleae (Rosaceae)” at the University of Gothenburg in 2010. He then did a post-doc at Paul Jarvis Lab, University of Leicester, where he investigated the origin and evolution of chloroplasts. He is now a bioinformatician at the Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences and regularly collaborates with our group on bioinformatic projects.

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Amber Woutersen

Amber is currently doing an extended BSc in interdisciplinary studies, with the focus on biology, at the University of Amsterdam. Her project aims to reconstruct the origin and evolution of the plant genus Nitraria (Nitrariaceae) on the Tibetan Plateau, with the help of both pollen morphology and molecular data. She collaborates with the Antonelli lab and Heidelberg University and is under the supervision of Carina Hoorn, Alexandre Antonelli and Andreas Koutsodendris. Her main interests are paleoecology, palynology and the evolution of species and how climatic processes such as mountain uplift, sea retreat and global warming or cooling affect this evolution. She will start her masters at the University of Amsterdam in September 2016.

Keywords: Nitrariaceae, evolution, palynology, pollen morphology

Anna Ansebo

Anna is working as a research engineer for the Antonelli lab. She has a Master of Science in Biology and is responsible for the management of the molecular systematic laboratory.

Camila Duarte Ritter

Camila is a biologist with interest in ecological questions about the Amazon. She did her Master's degree in the Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia, INPA working with the impact of past fire in flooded forest in birds. She worked with phylogenetics analyses and landscape genetics of Elaenia ruficeps (Aves - Tyrannidae). She was a PhD student at the University of Gothenburg under the main supervision of Alexandre Antonelli and she worked with the hidden diversity of the Amazon using environmental DNA. Her project had the goal to quantify the diversity of Amazon with samples of soils and insects and to compare the different forest types várzeas, igapós, terra firmes and campinas. Another goal was to use these measures to quantify the loss of diversity after human forest disturbance.


Keywords: Amazon, Environmental DNA, Diversity, Next-generation sequencing.

Alexander Zizka

Alexander received his MSc degree in Biology from the Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany under the supervision of Prof. Steven Higgins. He is interested in large scale biodiversity patterns and the influence of climate (change) on vegetation and the evolution of plants. He is particularly excited about tropical ecosystems, especially savannas, and has a passion for biological field work and the application of the R environment for data analysis. In his Phd studies at the Antonelli lab, Alexander performed statistical comparisons between South America and Africa to understand the mechanisms causing the fascinating diversity of life in the Neotropics. Given their shared Gondwana origin, he aimed at understanding the striking differences in biodiversity between the two continents as an “evolutionary experiment”. To understand this dichotomy, Alexander combined cross-taxonomic analyses of large scale biodiversity patterns (including plants and animals) with the analysis of niche evolution, ancestral area reconstruction and diversification rate analyses in focal plant groups.

Keywords: Africa, biodiversity patterns, biogeography, climate change, Neotropics, plant evolution, savanna

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Ylva Heed

Ylva worked as a research assistant for the Antonelli Lab. She has a Master of Science in Biology and has studied relationships in the plant genus Muscari.

Marcela Firens da Silveira

Marcela has experience on different groups of plants. During her undergraduate studies she worked on Araliaceae (Hydrocotyle) of Brazil. Then during her MSc she became enthusiastic about the coffee family (Rubiaceae) whilst working on the Flora of Serra da Canastra - an area of the Brazilian Cerrado and Rocky Outcrops in Minas Gerais, Brazil. Her current interest is in the taxonomy of Rubiaceae. She is currently doing her PhD hosted at Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP), Brazil, under the main supervision of Luiza Kinoshita, working on the Systematics and Biogeography of Manettia (Rubiaceae), and co-supervised by Alex Antonelli and Claes Persson in Gothenburg.


Suzette Flantua

Suzette is a biologist with a strong biogeographical background and interest. She aims at integrating knowledge from the paleoecology, biogeography and landscape ecology. She has been implementing GIS and Remote Sensing tools to a wide range of research questions in Venezuela, Colombia and the Amazon basin. Currently she is a PhD student working at the Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics, the Netherlands. Her research is focused on spatial modelling of biome responses through time based on fossil pollen records in South America. Therefore she updated the site compilation of the Latin American Pollen Database. Her future work will continue on the multi-site and multi-proxy approach for improved spatial understanding of past biome responses.

Keywords: Paleoecology, Biogeography, GIS, landscape connectivity modelling, Biodiversity, Climate change, Quaternary, Neotropics


Francisco Velasquez

Francisco did his Masters in Ecology, Evolution and Systematics at the LMU in Munich, Germany. Francisco is broadly interested in evolutionary biology and his main interests lay in phylogeography, population genetics, and behavioral ecology. Francisco is a research assistant in the Antonelli lab in Santander, Colombia and is working on DNA sequencing, phylogenetic community structure, and diversification rates of neotropical palms. Francisco is also collaborating with other projects addressing the evolution of neotropical mammals from the Caviidae family in South America.

Narjara Lopes de Abreu

Narjara has experience the taxonomy and ecology of Orchidaceae. She is particularly interested in the colonization of island environments, especially within the Neotropics. She has recently finished her PhD in the National Museum of Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), under the supervision of Dr. Ruy Alves and Dr. Sérgio Ricardo Sodré with collaboration of Alexandre Antonelli. The title of her thesis was "Phylogeny of Polystachya estrellesis (Jacq.) Garay & Sweet (Orchidaceae) and molecular evidence of colonization of the Trindad’s Island".

Keywords: Orchidaceae, Island, ecology, Biogeography


Sofie Bernhardsson

Sofie has done a BSc project reviewing the current threats to Amazonian biodiversity.

Fernanda Calió

Fernanda Calió is a botanist interested in investigating general patterns of evolution within the Neotropics, and also studying the systematics of Gentianaceae and Rubiaceae. She recently finished a post-doc in the Plant Systematics Lab at Universidade de São Paulo, developing her studies under the supervision of Dr. Lúcia Lohmann with collaboration of Alexandre Antonelli and his team. She is now a full Professor at Federal University of Sao Carlos in Brazil.

Keywords: Bignoniaceae, biogeography, Gentianaceae, Rubiaceae, systematics


Alexandre Fernandes

Alexandre is an ornithologist, with extensive field experience in Brazil, mainly Amazonia. His interests lie in conservation biogeography and evolution of Neotropical birds. He received his Ph.D. degree from Heidelberg University, Germany, in 2012. He has recently finished a post-doc with Alexandre Antonelli and Alexandre Aleixo at Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi, Brazil, investigating the evolutionary diversification of selected Neotropical birds occurring in open vegetation in South America. He is now a full Professor at the Federal Rural University of Pernambuco in Brazil

Keywords: birds, biogeography, conservation, Neotropics


Lovisa Gustafsson

Lovisa carried out phylogenetic work on a genus of Brazilian orchids and estimated diversification times for the whole family Orchidaceae. She has recently finished a PhD at Oslo's Natural History Museum.

Personal website

See short presentation on YouTube!

Fabien L Condamine

Fabien is an evolutionary biologist who aims at understanding the origins and evolution of biological diversity. In particular, he is interested in macroevolution and historical biogeography of global patterns in biodiversity such as latitudinal diversity gradients, regional patterns like in the Neotropics and the Indo-Australian Archipelago, and fine-scale patterns such as island biogeography. Fabien aims to tease apart the main evolutionary and ecological processes that have shaped current patterns of biodiversity over macroevolutionary time scales. Fabien is currently employed as a post-doc at the Department of Biological Sciences (University of Alberta), Edmonton, Canada. From January 2016, he will start a position as a permanent researcher at CNRS, France.

Google Scholar profile

Keywords: macroevolution, phylogenetics, dating, historical biogeography, diversification rates, insects

Climbiê Ferreira Hall

Climbiê Ferreira Hall is a Brazilian biologist and received his bachelor degree at the Universidade Federal de Goiás, Brazil, and his Master degree in Ecology and Evolution at the same University. He has recently finished a PhD in Plant Biodiversity and Enviroment at the Instituto de Botânica, supervised by Fábio de Barros. He has used Next Generation Sequencing and molecular phylogenies as tools to study the biogeographical and evolutionary patterns of Neotropical orchids. Presently his main focus is in the subtribe Zygopetalinae producing a new phylogeny for the subtribe, specially of the Zygopetalum complex and working with species delimitation within the genus Koellensteinia.

Keywords: sequence capture, phylogenetics, species delimitation, Neotropics, Orchids, systematics, biodiversity, Next-generation sequencing.


See short presentation on YouTube!

Gustavo Heiden

Gustavo has recently finished a PhD on systematics, evolution and biogeography of the Neotropical genus Baccharis (Asteraceae), supervised by José Rubens Pirani (USP) with the collaboration of Alexandre Antonelli. During the time spent in Gothenburg, he looked for the implementation of up-to-date phylogenetic and biogeographical methods proposing and testing hypotheses about the evolution of morphological, biological and ecological characters within the genus and contextualizing the results with the biogeography and the history of the biomes in the Neotropical region.


Orachorn Mekkerdchoo

Orachorn is doing a PhD on the glucomannan contents of Amorphophallus species from Thailand, and developing molecular markers for species identification.

Rosemeri Morokawa

Rose has recently defended her PhD on the systematics, taxonomy and evolutionary biogeography of Neotropical Apocynaceae (supervised by Luiza Kinoshita and André Simões at UNICAMP and co-supervised by Alexandre Antonelli).


Karin Nilsson

Karin has a MSc in biology and has worked together with Rutger Vos to develop bioinformatic workflows needed for the supersmart project.



Alexandre Aleixo Website

André Simões Website

Camila Ribas Website

Carlos Jaramillo Website

Chuck Davis Website

Daniel Kissling Website

Daril Vilhena Website

Hanna Tuomisto Website

Hans ter Steege Website

Jens-Christian Svenning Website

Jürg Schönenberger Website

Martin Rosvall Website

Mike Sanderson Website

Mathieu Perret Website

Nathan Muchhala Website

Nick Matzke Website

Nicolas Salamin Website

Nina Rønsted Website

Peter Linder Website

Pierre Sepulchre Website

Ricardo Sawaya Website

Rodrigo Bernal Website

Rutger Vos Website

Tanja Stadler Website

Toby Pennington Website


Bengt Oxelman Website

Bernard Pfeil Website

Claes Persson Website

Henrik Nilsson Website

Urban Olsson Website

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