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Anders Larsson, PhD-Student

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My PhD-project:

Dispersal and phylogeny of Woodsia ferns

The assumption that ferns are easily dispersed by wind has been put forward in many studies, based for example on the fact that the frequency of endemics on islands are lower for ferns than for angiosperms. Lately with a better understanding of the fern reproduction, and then especially that ferns are mainly outcrossing and not inbreeding as often assumed, the idea of almost freely dispersed ferns have been questioned. Yet, although biogeography is discussed in phylogenetic studies of ferns, studies explicitly testing hypothesis on distribution patterns in ferns are few. In a landscape that gets more fragmented, the understanding of the impact of long-distance dispersal will have implications in a conservation perspective. The research focuses on two complementary groups of ferns: tree ferns, with a mainly southern hemisphere, subtropical-tropical distribution and a Late Triassic origin, and Woodsia, a northern hemisphere, temperate group of ferns with a probable Tertiary origin.

Part I. Resolving the phylogenetic position of Woodsia. (This is where I am currently working)

In recent phylogenetic analysis of ferns, Woodsia is placed in the group Eupolypods II. The relationships between genera and families in this group are still poorly resolved, and the closest relatives of Woodsia are unknown. An extended taxon sampling in this group in conjunction with adding more DNA sequence data will provide possibilities to resolve this group, evaluate the monophyly of Woodsia, and create a stable phylogenetic framework for further phylogenetic and biogeographical studies within Woodsia.

The project is part of Dr Petra Koralls project "The impact of long-distance dispersal in shaping the biogeography of ferns". Dr Petra Korall is also my main supervisor.


Other activities:

Feel free to contact me with questions, both popular and scientific.

Picture Anders Anders Larsson
Department of Systematic Biology
Evolutionary Biology Center
Uppsala University
Norbyvägen 18D
SE-752 36 Uppsala

+46 (0)18 471 2932


No spores on the Pteridium this year either.


See images of Pteridium aquilinum growing in greenhouse.