Few issues have been as intriguing and exciting to scientists as the origin and evolution of the Neotropical Biota. Yet, relatively little is still known about the evolutionary relationships of Neotropical organisms, and the factors that have shaped the diversity currently encountered in this region. It is now clear, though, that both evolutionary and ecological factors have played key roles for the assembly of this Biota. Integrative approaches, including information from systematics, ecology, evolution, geology, and climatology, among others, are not just useful but critical for a better understanding of current patterns of diversity. Here, I use integrative cross-disciplinary studies and the plant family Bignoniaceae as a model for investigating the history of Tropical ecosystems, in particular the Neotropics where this plant family is most abundant and diverse.
Lucia Lohmann is a Professor at the Department of Botany at the University of Sao Paulo and a Visiting Scholar at the University of California - Berkeley.