Brazil has the major biodiversity in the world, with approximately 55,000 plant species. The Orchidaceae family is considered the largest family among plants families, presenting 800 genus and 25,000 species. Unsurprising, Brazil presents the largest diversity of orchids, showing almost 10% of all described species, many of them endemic from Atlantic Rain Forest, the second more endangered tropical forest in the world. Many orchids have become endangered and threatened species, but the real number could be much bigger, due to the limited plant collection and incorrectly classification of some species. Facing this alarming situation is important to obtain data related to the species' taxonomy and biogeography to the development of more efficient conservation programs. Despite many studies, the astonishingly orchid biodiversity still poorly understood, without a formal classification proposal for the family. Surprisingly, modern cytological approaches, so useful in taxonomic and phylogenetic analysis, have hardly been applied in orchids. In this way, this project aims to supply this deficiency, using banding and in situ hybridization techniques for to analyze the chromosome divergence and how it could influences on patterns of speciation, which could results in species differentiation. Finally, this project, based on molecular cytogenetic and field data, will considerably extend our understanding about Orchidaceae phylogeny and evolution, helping to indicating the taxonomic units and species with priority to conservation.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: