Piper is a diverse genus of herbs, vines, lianas, shrubs and small trees comprised of nearly 2000 species worldwide.
In my postdoctoral studies, I have taken the preliminary steps towards building a phylogeny of Neotropical Piper by sequencing two markers for 165 samples representing 35 species. I am also in the process of making a key to all the species of Piper found at La Selva Biological Station, which I am developing into a free app for use at the station.
Next, I would like to use next generation techniques to build a robust phylogeny for this fascinating genus. A well-resolved phylogeny of Piper will allow us to test many hypotheses about the evolutionary processes that have led to such high diversity in the genus Piper.
photo by Ada Kaliszewska