Stylidiaceae (Triggerplant family)

Aim: Phylogenomics Stage 2
Project initiation: Aug 2021
Project lead:  Juliet Wege | Department of Biodiversity Conservation & Attractions (DBCA)

Reproduced with permission from Juliet Wege

Project description:

The triggerplant genus Stylidium (Stylidiaceae: Asterales) is a charismatic element of the Australian flora renowned for its highly specialised flowers that place pollen on (and retrieve pollen from) visiting insects via a rapidly rotating column (the ‘trigger’). More than 300 species are known, including a raft of rarities that have only recently been scientifically named and described. An overarching taxonomic synthesis Stylidium and allied genera is being prepared for the Flora of Australia; however, evolutionary relationships remain poorly understood.

This project will produce a phylogenomic framework for 240 species of Stylidiaceae based on Angiosperm353 target capture data. The framework will be used to formulate a robust classification of the family that will underpin current and future taxonomic research and associated conservation efforts. These data will also be used to address questions of phylogenetic relationships, biogeographic history, and trait evolution and will also provide insights into the drivers of speciation in south-western Australia, a veritable hotspot of triggerplant diversity.