About this Research Topic
Plants are a highly diverse group of organisms with a long evolutionary history, during which they have evolved an astonishing variety of shapes and sizes. This great diversity has attracted the attention of generations of scientists trying to describe its spatial and temporal patterns and to infer the processes that stay behind. Among all, flowering plants (angiosperms) with almost 300,000 described species, stand out in terms of species richness yet other less diverse and older lineages as gymnosperms have persisted for hundreds of millions of years and still dominate large parts of the earth’s surface.
Despite a long history of research, the spatial and temporal patterns of plant diversity and diversification remain contentions. This may be due to several reasons, of which the most important are: 1) the presence of unresolved parts of the plant tree of life; 2) the lack of a robust temporal framework for the plant radiation; 3) a large number of species and often unstable taxonomy; 4) the lack of detailed distributional data with broad taxonomic and spatial coverage, and 5) the fact that many species have never been included in phylogenetic analyses. Recent advances in genomic approaches, phylogenetic and bioinformatic algorithms, and computational infrastructure have allowed for the first time to build plant mega phylogenies and to shed light on the speciation process in polyploids or in taxa where hybridization is common. Also, ongoing efforts have led to the development of large traits and distributional databases. As a result, despite some limitations, large scale analyses of plant diversity and diversification patterns are no longer out of reach.
Within this research topic, we aim to bring together some of the latest theoretical and empirical research on large scale plant diversity and diversification patterns in the era of -omics and big data.
We are interested in covering large scale patterns of all aspects of diversity -taxonomic, phenotypic, phylogenetic, genetic- and manuscripts that study more than one of these diversity dimensions are particularly encouraged. We are very interested in contributions that focus on processes rather than just describing patters, but this is not fundamental. Original Research, Opinions, Perspectives, Reviews, and Mini-Reviews related to the following broadly defined topics are welcome.
• Spatial and/or temporal patterns of plant diversity
• Plant diversification drivers across taxa, space and/or time
• Large scale spatial patterns of genetic variation in plants
• Global change and plant diversity
Keywords: Plant Macroevolution, Plant Macroecology, Key Innovations, Adaptation, Co-Evolution
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.