Evolution of Woodiness

Lately, I have been working on mapping the evolution of woodiness on the Plant Tree of Life.

For this project, I used the trait data collected by Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI)—available through GlobalTreeSearch—and the phylogeny built by Stephen Smith and Joseph W. Brown. The tree contains almost every plant species (~353,000!!)  and the paper describing the process of building it can be accessed here.

The main findings are 1) that being herbaceous might be the ancestral state and 2) that the evolution of wood has happened many times but only on certain clades.

Here is a figure of this super cool project that uses amazing data and research by others—I’m definitively standing on the shoulders of giants.