Tropical Biology Section
Laubengayer, Karen M. .
A morphological analysis of Aiphanes minima, a Lesser Antillean palm.
Aiphanes Willd. is a genus comprised of 25 species of spiny palms distributed throughout much of South America, as well as in the Greater and Lesser Antilles. Throughout history, Aiphanes has been regarded by several different names. Prior to 1996, Aiphanes in the West Indies was believed to be represented by four separate species on five different islands: A. erosa (Barbados), A. minima (Dominica and Martinique), A. luciana (St. Lucia) and A. vincentiana (St. Vincent). Today, a single species, A. minima, is recognized throughout the Lesser Antillean islands (Borchsenius & Bernal 1996). Preliminary data suggests that more than a single species exists within the West Indies, as seen through variation in elevation and phenotypic characteristics.
The purpose of this research is to collect detailed observations of gross morphology, anatomy, and pollen morphology of Lesser Antillean populations of A. minima in order to re-evaluate this specie’s circumscription and to determine whether the current taxonomy adequately represents the palm’s evolutionary history. The significance of this study is to resolve the taxonomy of the Lesser Antillean Aiphanes and assess the level of endangerment of these palms in the Caribbean, one of the world’s most important hotspots for species diversity.
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1 - Florida International University, Department of Biological Sciences, 11200 SW 8th Street, Miami, Florida, 33199, USA
Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Sections
Date: Monday, July 28th, 2008
Time: 3:45 PM