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Phylogeny, phylogeography and species limits within Kangaroo grasses, the genus Themeda (Poaceae)

Start date:
01 Jan 2014
End date:
31 Dec 2017
Dr Richard W Jobson
Project sponsors:
Australia Biological Resources Study

Project aims

  • Evaluate current interspecific classifications of Themeda (Poaceae) using nuclear and chloroplast DNA markers.
  • Produce a phylogeny of the species of Themeda, based on nuclear and chloroplast DNA, assessing the monophyly of species and the phylogenetic structure of species complexes.
  • Using population level sampling examine phylogeography and taxonomic limits in selected species complexes and investigate genetic structure, polyploidy and hydridization in and between populations and at taxon boundaries.

Project Summary

Themeda is a genus of 18 species with five present in Australia. Two of these are introduced, and three are native and distributed across all Australian states, PNG, Malesia and New Zealand. This project aims to examine relationships among the Australasian species incorporating this data with the 15 other species distributed in the Old World Tropics. The project will also address taxonomic issues at the infraspecifc level, examining potential hybridization zones between cytological forms, and morphological and phylogeographic patterns within complexes of native species. The study will produce an account for inclusion in the Flora of Australia.

Research Update

Field collections from across Australia almost complete. DNA Sequencing of populations from across Australia is underway.