As components of the largest of all plant families, Asteraceae's representatives occupy sundry ecological niches, which is reflected in the great phenotypic plasticity which usually manifests in the internal structure of their vegetative parts. In Vernonieae tribe, the Chrestinae subtribe is represented by the genus Chresta, whose fourteen species are divided into two groups virtually exclusive from Caatinga and Cerrado, which are particularly distinguished by their leaves. In this context, this project aims to perform a comparative study of the leaf anatomy of four species of Chresta, being two from Cerrado and two others from Caatinga. So, the totally expanded leaves will be cut by hand. The material will be stained with toluidine blue or double staining of alcian blue and safranin. The leaves will be also diaphonized for the venation study. The data will be arranged in a binary characters matrix and, from this, a comparative and descriptive analysis will be performed. The results will collaborate with a PhD project that aims to study the systematics and evolution of the subtribe. Therefore, it is expected that the anatomical structure characterization of the different species will provide us not only with subsidies to taxonomic studies, but it can also raise a possible adaptive discussion related to the environmental factors to which they are exposed in the Cerrado and Caatinga. These environments are too neglected, despite its great importance in Brazilian biodiversity.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: