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PhD student

phone: +32 (0)2 650 45 11

e-mail: Laura.Albreht@ulb.be

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Research interests

evolutionary biology – genomics – species conservation – systematics

PhD research project

Species delimitation and evolution of threatened African rosewood species of the genus Pterocarpus

Supervisor: Olivier Hardy (EBE)

Co-supervisor: Nils Bourland (RMCA, CITES)

The advance of molecular genetic techniques has led to the discovery of numerous new species, unveiling a hidden diversity. These discoveries significantly affect our understanding of biodiversity and species conservation and highlight the need to properly delimit species. Pterocarpus (Fabaceae) is a pantropical genus of trees, with twelve species recognized in Africa. The genus is known for its complex intraspecific morphological variability and look-alike species, resulting in an ''unresolved'' taxonomy which hinders scientific research and species conservation efforts. Therefore, the main goal of this project is to reassess Pterocarpus species delimitation using a set of probes to capture 353 low-copy nuclear genes (Angiosperms-353) in combination with other genetic, morphological, and ecological data. Finally, certain Pterocarpus species called ''rosewood species'' are highly threatened by overexploitation for their timber. Our genetic data acquired will be valuable to orient (inter)national decisions regarding the protection of threatened species and determine genetic markers suitable to identify Pterocarpus species and/or the region of origin of traded wood, offering tools to control illegal trading of precious wood.

Keywords: Africa, Angiosperms-353, phylogenomics, Pterocarpus, rosewood, species delimitation


Demenou BB, Migliore J, Heuertz M, Monthe FK, Ojeda DI, Wiering JJ, Dauby G, Albreht L, Boom A, Hardy OJ (2020) Plastome phylogeography in two African rain forest legume trees reveals that Dahomey Gap populations originate from the Cameroon volcanic line. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 150, 106854.
doi: 10.1016/j.ympev.2020.106854


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